Big Japan Bike Ride No:4

It is that time of year again when the leaves fall from the trees and the long dark cold nights of winter are upon us. With it thoughts of going to warmer climes increase.

And so on Tuesday 19th May 2015 I depart New Zealand again for another Big Japan Bike Ride, this time it is No:4.

Progress can be followed on this blog…

Big Japan Bike Ride No:4

Big Japan Bike Ride No:4

The proposed route but as in previous years it can change.

I will have a short stopover in Tokyo on arrival.

Then go Kagoshima again, instead of the original idea of Osaka.
I will go up east coast of Kyushu this time rather than the west coast.

Cross by ferry to Shikoku and pass through the middle of the island. When there will ask more details about 88 temple pilgrimage.

I hope to arrive in Osaka 2 weeks later and have a few days stay there.

To celebrate my departure we rang the World Peace Bell in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens at 11:30am on Sunday morning 17th May.

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The Final Routes

I realised I haven’t made a map of the final route of the crazy Kiwi on a mama-chari 2012 Big Japan Bike Ride. So here it is….

The actual route taken.

The actual route taken 2012.

And can be compared to the one in 2011….


The actual route taken 2011.

The blog can be seen here…

And the one in 2014….


The actual route taken 2014

with the blog here….

So what of 2015, could there be a Big Japan Bike Ride 4?!

Happy New Year

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3rd Big Japan Bike Ride

It is a year since I wrote anything in this blog.

Next month (May 2014) I leave Christchurch to do Big Japan Bike Ride No:3! The blog starts here…

This time it is (I hope) on my classic Maruishi Emperor rather than the mama-chari.

I’ve changed a few things on this blog. The route is better accessed through the drop down menus underneath the header photo. They are separated under each island with more maps of the route. it is now much easier than reading backwards through the diary entries, which are still there.

I wish to thank the following for their help and kindness…

Kenichi owner and proprietor of Cycling Japan, purveyors of fine guided cycle tours in Japan…



Peter Buckton of Sony Corp…


All photos on this blog were taken using either a Sony Cybershot HX7v and Handycam HDR-PJ760V.

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Best Song Ever Written

Every weekday on Radio NZ National’s Afternoon programme with Jim Mora is an item called Best Song Ever Written. This is where listeners can nominate what they think is the “Best” song.

I nominated the best song and was accepted to appear on the show on 11th March 2013. Go to… to hear the interview and click on the top item.

Anyone who has spent time in rural or urban Japan will have heard the song (or tune). It is played every evening at 5:00pm over the same loud speakers that are used to broadcast warnings of impending danger, such as a tsunami. Except at 5:00pm that day two years ago the tsunami had already happened and the speakers remained silent in the coastal settlements over a large area of north east Honshu.

That day as night fell, stunned survivors were coming to terms with the fact that in a few short minutes their lives had changed forever. I asked that the tune be played to commemorate the tsunami victims and also to remember the survivors who must rebuild their lives again. Yes, Christchurch also suffered an earthquake, but the devastation was nothing like in Tohoku.

Radio NZ play the song at the end of the talk but unfortunately because of copyright restrictions they cannot include it in the recording. Nor can I upload it, but it can be heard here…,_op._95_-_ii._largo.ogg has a recording of it, the first 4 minutes: 20 seconds.

The Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95, B. 178 (Czech: Symfonie č. 9 e moll „Z nového světa“), popularly known as the New World Symphony, was composed by Antonín Dvořák

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Five Days until the Tsunami Second Anniversary.

Today is 7th March 2013, next Monday is 11th and the second anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

Last month (Feb 2013) I was fortunate enough to attend a farewell function for Kogota Nourin (Agriculture and Forestry) High School (小牛田農林高等学校). A group of their students came on an exchange programme to Kaiapoi School, Christchurch through the Kizuna Project キズナプロジェクト

This is where it gets a little complicated so hopefully I have it right…! The Kizuna (bond) Project is a Youth-Exchange Project with Asia-Oceania and North America. It was set up by the Government of Japan in April 2012 and is administered through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – One of the implementing organisations is the Japan International Co-operation Center 財団法人日本国際協力センター

The aims of the Kizuna Project is to promote global understanding of Japan’s revival efforts in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. Under this project, youths from 41 countries and region will have an opportunity to participate in the related programmes.

Coming from inland Miyagi Prefecture north of Sendai, the Kogota area escaped the damage experienced along the coast. During their presentation the students said they did volunteer work in the tsunami area but were now short of funds. This was perfect for what I wanted so at the end offered what I collected to their teacher Watanabe Sensei.

A quick trip home to get it was followed by a ride out to the airport hotel where they were staying for their last night in Christchurch. See has a story about their stay in Christchurch, (only in Japanese though).


Kogota Nourin High School students performing Yosakoi dance at Kaiapoi.

Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan. Yosakoi started in the city of Kōchi in 1954, as a modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. See


Giving most of what I collected to Watanabe Sensei.

The photo above is at the airport hotel giving most of what I collected to Watanabe Sensei. I am very happy to have found someone to give it to after all this time! There is a bit more left and I may have found another organisation.

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Still Learning…

I’m still learning how to use this blog so lots of experimenting going on, for instance I just found out the difference between posts and pages.

The remaining section of the Hokkaido ride is in part a kind of 20th anniversary journey. That has been uploaded now. See Hokkaido – Nemuro to Asahikawa to Tomakomai

I then cycled down the east coast of Tohoku from Hachinohe to Sendai mostly on Route 45 (what I call Tsunami Highway) in the north eastern Honshu region of Tohoku. I am now in the process of uploading. To access it click on the link below the header photo on the front page or here… Tohoku from Hachinohe to Sendai

To see larger versions of the photos click on them. There are lots of photos!


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Latest Update

Dear reader,

I completed my bike ride to the 4 corners of Japan on 16th July 2012.

The remaining section of the Hokkaido ride is in part a kind of 20th anniversary journey. That has been uploaded now. See Hokkaido – Nemuro to Asahikawa to Tomakomai

I then cycled down through Tohoku from Hatchinohe to Sendai mostly on Route 45 (what I call Tsunami Highway). That has been uploaded now and the blog completed.

Thank you everyone for following my journey.


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