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Topic: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!  (Read 585025 times)

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« Reply #3440 on: March 09, 2020, 10:47:06 am »

At least the rain has stopped as we climb back on our bikes. We've only got another hour's ride north to the city of Fukuoka, but as luck would have it, shortly after we leave Kashima, the sky opens up cold rain on our helmets. At least we've kept our rainsuits on as we brave through the elements.

As we reach the outskirts of Fukuoka and I spy the welcome orange-and-black sign of our favorite fast food place: Yoshinoya. I tap on the communicator and ask Neda if she wants to get out of the rain and get some warm Japanese food inside of us. It's a rhetorical question, of course...


Ugh! So miserable...

We burst into the restaurant like wet dogs dripping water all over the place. At least the place is empty because it's mid-day, right in between the lunch and dinner crowds, so we don't cause too much of a commotion as we slip off all of our wet layers and hang them on various chairs and tables around us to dry. We feel so un-Japanese, making such a mess. The staff, in response, are typically Japanese, very gracious and accommodating and trying not to make us feel self-conscious. Which makes us even more self-conscious...


We feel we deserve an extra-special treat today, so we both order the extra-large bowl of Unagi (BBQ eel) rice!
Aaaahhh! So yummy!


Normally unagi is much more expensive where we're from, but here in Japan, they're surprisingly moderately priced so we don't feel so guilty getting the extra portions of eel.

We savour our hot meal inside the warm and dry restaurant, watching and waiting for the rains to subside.

Which it doesn't.
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« Reply #3441 on: March 09, 2020, 10:48:29 am »


So back on the bikes in the pouring rain to go look for a place to sleep tonight

We've been staying at hotels and guest houses the entire time in Japan. Some of the places have tatami rooms, so we get the flavour of sleeping in Japanese-style accommodations. But none of them have been true "ryokans", which is a traditional Japanese Inn, where the entire building is wood and tatami mats everywhere. Until now!


First thing you do in any Japanese building is swap out your outside shoes for inside slippers

The Japanese are fastidious about dirt, and keeping it out of the living area. There are outside shoes, inside slippers and even toilet slippers. When you enter any washroom, you leave your inside slippers out in the hallway and don special toilet slippers.

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« Reply #3442 on: March 09, 2020, 10:49:59 am »


We are really looking forward to a nice, hot onsen bath! This ryokan we've found is a budget inn. Most of the ones I found online were very fancy and expensive, which we can't afford. But this one is right in our price-range, which means we have to be prepared for basic and no-frills accommodations. But it does have an onsen onsite - which, saying this out loud, makes for a nice alliterative marketing slogan... for gaijin. So maybe not...


*shrug* Wuz a little bored, I guess...

After checking into our very basic and no-frills tatami room (which had a very strong grassy smell from the mats), we each went off to our separate onsens. I think we spent more time in the hot baths than we did riding to get here! Smile


As mentioned, our tatami room is very basic and no-frills


But it did look better with the lights out. A nice touch with the backlit paper cutout shadows!

Hopefully tomorrow it will be less wet outside.

Oyasuminasai! (Good night in Japanese)
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« Reply #3443 on: March 09, 2020, 01:00:19 pm »

Thank you for continuing to post your ride reports here.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #3444 on: March 09, 2020, 02:10:20 pm »


Thank you for continuing to post your ride reports here.  Thumbsup


Yes, I was just thinking this!
I know that you guys have long ago left this place that you're posting about and it takes some drive to complete something so far in the past  Bigok
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« Reply #3445 on: March 13, 2020, 05:02:16 am »

Thanks!
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« Reply #3446 on: March 13, 2020, 02:35:56 pm »

Yes. Thank you very much. Really enjoy these!
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« Reply #3447 on: March 17, 2020, 09:06:38 pm »

Yes, please keep posting, I really enjoy reading your ride reports.
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« Reply #3448 on: March 18, 2020, 09:43:18 am »

I love your reports too  Thumbsup  Thumbsup
Take care of yourself wherever you are in these very troubled times around the world.
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« Reply #3449 on: March 20, 2020, 12:43:29 pm »

Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/406.html



Well, the sun is shining outside, and quite brightly, as well. But this is how my day starts off:


My left boot is leaking and is still a bit soggy from yesterday's ride. Plastic bag sock condom to the rescue!

So remember how down I was on Internet web forums, because nobody seems to be using them anymore? I actually got a response from one of the Japanese motorcycle forums I'm on! Dale is an American ex-pat living on Kyushu island, and he replied to one of my posts, inviting us out to breakfast before he headed out for work. He told us to meet him at a diner in Kitakyushu, which was less than 40 minutes away from our ryokan in Fukuoka. Cool! We get to meet another fellow motorcycle rider!


Dale brought all of his maps with him and helps us to plan our route through Japan

Seems like Dale is a regular here. He was conversing quite fluently with the owner! I'm a member of a Facebook group for ex-pats in Japan and from all the chatter on there, it seems that the default job for gaijin is to be an English teacher. But now we're meeting so many people that have other jobs as well. Dale is a technical writer for Yamaha! We spent a lot of time talking about his experiences in Japan and motorcycling specifically! He said that on Kyushu, you never have to put away your motorcycle for the winter.

Well then, Kyushu has automatically jumped up the list for a good place to settle! Smile
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« Reply #3450 on: March 20, 2020, 12:48:10 pm »

Dale had to take off to go to work, and we thanked him for the warm welcome and for all the information.


Dale rides a Yamaha, naturally! MT-09 Tracer!

We asked one of a bunch of Japanese ladies passing by to take our picture. After she did, the group of ladies also wanted to take our picture. Well, not of us, just of them and Neda! It seems that a gaijin girl on a motorcycle is quite the curiousity in these parts, same as I was in Latin America! Bigsmile


I took a shot of them with my camera as well! Neda towers over most of them! Bigsmile
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« Reply #3451 on: March 20, 2020, 12:49:14 pm »

We rode out of Kitakyushu, heading east across the bridge back onto the main island of Honshu. The road we're on takes us through Mine City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This plateaued area is called Akiyoshidai and is littered with thousands of limestone karst formations on the ground around us. Very scenic!


Stopping to take some pictures of all the rocks


The visitor centre at Akiyoshida

There is also a 9-km long limestone cave nearby, it's the longest one in Japan. The first km is open for tourists but there's an entrance fee which we don't want to pay. Because paying to hike a kilometre is just insult on top of injury. They should be paying *me* to go hiking! Smile


Plus these cool-looking rocks are free and we're riding around them on motorcycles. No hiking involved!
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« Reply #3452 on: March 20, 2020, 12:50:28 pm »


Carps, blowing in the wind

Further along the way, we cross a bridge and see dozens of these carp-shaped wind socks blowing in the wind. These are called koi-noibori and are usually put up to celebrate the national week-long holiday called Golden Week, where the whole country goes on vacation. It's similar to Ferragosto in Italy, which we had the misfortune to run into.

Golden Week starts in a couple of weeks, so this time, we're going to try to finish up our Japan tour before the holidays begin because it'll be impossible to find accommodations while on the road since everyone has booked their hotels and ryokans months in advance, plus there'll be heavy traffic jams all over the islands!

Congestion around the big cities in Japan is bad enough normally, I can't even imagine how bad it gets during Golden Week!


Fellow two-wheelers on their daily commute
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« Reply #3453 on: March 21, 2020, 02:33:44 pm »

We've been asked about our plans for 2020:

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« Reply #3454 on: March 24, 2020, 11:46:11 am »

 Lol Lol Lol looks like you're staying put for a while!

As always, great pictures and narrative  Thumbsup  Thumbsup

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« Reply #3455 on: March 25, 2020, 04:21:15 pm »

I've not been to STN for quite some time now (6 months?).   Silly of me, I know.   But now I got to digest 6 pages of the forum in one sitting.

Once again,  awesome.  Thanks Gene for taking time away from the great skiing this winter to write this up.
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« Reply #3456 on: March 29, 2020, 12:31:47 pm »


OMG, we're such tourists!

As we get closer to our destination for the evening, we come across this huge shopping centre that's decorated with all the traditional Japanese imagery. Kimonos, paper lanterns, pagodas, etc. But it's obviously a tacky tourist trap! We love it! So we stop to walk around and revel in all the Japanese kitsch!


Tourists in Japan
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« Reply #3457 on: March 29, 2020, 12:32:25 pm »


Sun is quickly setting as we walk around the Japanese tourist trap

We're close enough to the next town that it won't matter if we ride back in the dark. Wouldn't be the first time... Might be kind of cold though...


It's difficult to Samuraiz all our experiences in Japan, but I'll try to Cut to the chase and get the Point across.

Perhaps the pun is mightier than the sword?
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« Reply #3458 on: March 29, 2020, 12:33:37 pm »


Hopscotch over sakura petals floating on the pond


This guy must be a motorcyclist. He offered to adjust my rake and ride sweep


Those patio lanterns they were the stars in the sky
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« Reply #3459 on: March 29, 2020, 12:35:52 pm »


Browsing through all the tourist trinkets for sale under the coloured lights of the outdoor shopping centre


There's even a temple behind the shopping centre. With a golden cardboard buddha cutout! Smile


And of course, the line of requisite vending machines
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