How I became a Japanese Celebrity on a Honda Cub

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by naconn, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Micah.Berry

    Micah.Berry n00b

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    One of the most interesting ride reports I have read thus far! Please do continue to write up as you continue on your tour - by the way, those are great photos, and I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if you posted some more.
    #41
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  2. kwthom

    kwthom Fully inoculated!

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    I know of an admin here that could change that in the blink of an eye. All Nathan would have to do is point 'em at this thread, and it could be so!

    I'd be a fan of that handle change.
    #42
  3. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    So, because of the length of my first ride’s report, I’ll try to be a little more succinct in second ride report.

    The goal of tour #2 was to go from Tokyo to Soya Misaki, the northernmost point in Japan. I had to cover roughly 3000 km on a bike with a legal top speed of 30 km/h… I had a brand new set of proper saddlebags and a better grasp on the dos-and-don’ts of touring.

    It was April and baseball season, being a huge baseball fan I made it a mission to visit as many Japanese baseball stadiums as I could on my way up north. The path and pace of my ride meant I would also move north with the cherry blossoms.

    From Tokyo I headed to Saitama prefecture, caught a Seibu Lions game and spent the night in Saitama city. I then rode (as is my luck) through torrential rain to Mount Tsukuba. Only to find the next morning that the road I rode in on was actually closed to motorcyclists… oops. The next day, the TV crew caught up with me and we headed to Motegi. In Motegi I got to ride my little 50cc cub around the world famous Motegi Twin Ring. Later that day I visited the Honda collection hall and saw all of the Dakar and MotoGP winning bikes from over the years as well as an amazing collection of Honda’s production cars and bikes going back to the 1950s.

    The TV crew decided to leave me on my own for two weeks, and I was pretty thrilled about having that time to tour on my own without cameras rolling, the following two weeks were the best two weeks of touring I’ve ever had.

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    I sent out a tweet on that night asking anyone with a bike to join me for a ride from Motegi to Nikko the next day. Five people showed up and we rode convoyed our way to Nikko, one of the spiritual homes of the Shinto religion. I dubbed this event the “Mr. Cub’s Cub Club Cub Crawl”.
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    After visiting the shirnes, we took the roads into the mountains of Nikko. Uphill the entire way, my little bike could only go 15km/h up dozens upon dozens of hairpin turns, but with all that extra time I was able to take in all of the beautiful scenery in every direction. We made it to the top of the hill where the lake were dotted with campgrounds… only all of the campgrounds were still closed for the season. My new friends managed to find me an open campground back where we had just left, in the city of Nikko… closing in 30 minutes… luckily it was downhill. Back down those switchbacks I pushed my little 50cc so fast that the needle was pointing off the speedo. I arrived at the campground in the nick of time, said goodbye to my new friends and camped for the night next to some very noisy American GIs.

    From Nikko I headed into Fukushima prefecture towards Mt. Bandai. Along the way I stopped in Ouichi-Juku, an Edo era village, to take some photos and a few dozen bikers stopped to take selfies with me. After several hours of riding I searched for a place to sleep in the ski resorts around Bandai… nothing was open and the mercury was dropping fast. I made the decision to head down from the mountains and into the city of Fukushima, 80kms away, in sub-freezing temps. Let me tell you… I’ve never been so cold in my life. I found an open hotel in Fukushima and I was ecstatic to have a warm bed and shower.
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    From Fukushima I rode to Sendai by way of Mt. Zao. The night I reached Sendai it started to snow, this was a sign of things to come. I spent 2 nights on the floor of couchsurfing host’s dorm room. I got tickets to a Rakuten Eagles game, visited the Matushima coast which was ravaged by the tsunami 5 years prior.

    From Sendai I rode northwest into the mountains of Yamagata prefecture and found myself yet another off-season ski area. There was still quite a bit of snow still on the ground and the nights were still below freezing, but I was lucky enough to find a year-round campground in one of the shuttered ski resorts. My campground also included a free hotspring just a few feet from my campground, so I had a nice warm soak, surrounded by snow and bright stars.

    The next morning I had planned to ride to east into Iwate prefecture and make my way north from there, but unfortunately the only road was still blocked from snow. So I decided to go west instead and make my way north through Akita prefecture. I’m glad I did, because the coastline in Akita is among the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the privilege of riding.
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    I nearly ran out of gas on a remote stretch of road on the Oga peninsula and limped the bike along on fumes for nearly 20km before finding a gas station. That night I found a free campsite in Ogata, a former lake drained in the 1950s for rice production. The land was perfectly flat and in the morning, dusting off the frost from my tent, I saw a perfect sunrise. The sun exactly like the red circle on the Japanese flag… Japan just made sense to me that morning. I loaded up my bike and headed up to Aomori, wherein I would take the ferry to Hokkaido the next day.

    More soon!
    #43
  4. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    Well, if you don't mind spoilers. I have quite a few photos from these trips on my instagram.
    #44
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  5. Lanis

    Lanis Full Time Wanderer Supporter

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    Ahhh Mr. Cub-san

    I watched the original 3 episodes and laughed so hard I cried !!!! Fantastic report! Please, please keep it coming....

    LLL
    #45
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  6. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    I forgot to mention earlier that while I was in Sendai, the 3rd episode of the show aired. At the end of the episode (posted on this thread earlier), it shows me riding off for on my second trip. Millions of people knew I was back in Japan and I began to be recognized several times a day. A group of school kids on a field trip all stopped to take photos with me, and a delivery truck driver pulled over just so he could shake my hand and give me a snack.

    The afternoon I arrived Aomori City, I decided to go shopping. I had been using a 20+ year old hand-me-down sleeping bag from my brother and I’s days in Boy Scouts. After 2 weeks in sub-freezing temps, I decided it was time to get a new one. I bought a nice -10º rated bag and ditched the old in a donation bin. Hokkaido was on the horizon and I needed as much warmth as I could possibly get. The next morning I made my way to the ferry terminal, only to find that all of the ferries were delayed by 4 hours due to high winds. I bought the earliest ticket I could and waited in the ferry building to leave.

    The ferry to Hokkaido is typically a 3.5 hour ride, but because of high winds the ship was unable to dock for several hours. The ship rocked back and forth so much that at one point a chair I was sitting in slid 20 feet across the lounge deck. The ferry finally docked around midnight and I rode my bike to my hostel in central Hakodate. On the bridge into the city, the wind was so strong that my puny little bike could barely keep up and it nearly blew me into the water. I made it to the hostel safely and had a few drinks with some Americans on vacation. The next morning I set off for Lake Toya.

    Riding along the southeastern coast of Hokkaido, I made a few stops to watch the fishermen unloading their catches and made quick friends with the captain of crab fishing boat. I turned inland and headed towards the volcanic caldera lake of Toya-ko. As was the theme of my time in Japan, nearly every campground was closed. The groundskeeper of one of the closed camps directed me to the only open campground open on the lake. A couple from Sapporo were in the tent next to me recognized me from TV and invited me to eat with them at their campfire.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The next day I woke up to find a light dusting of snow on the tent and headed north to Sapporo. As I made my way up north, the snow become more intense. Climbing up steep mountain passes in a snowstorm at 20km/h wasn’t much fun, but I made it to Sapporo unscathed. I booked two nights in an apartment in the city on airbnb, parked my bike and took the subway to the Sapporo Brewery for some fresh beer and barbecued meats. The next morning the TV crew met me outside the apartment and we began sightseeing around the city.

    The TV director felt that my story needed more Japanese interactions, and when he saw the twitter mentions from fans asking me to stay with them, he tried to get me to accept their offers. Most of these fans were teenage girls, so I politely refused his suggestion, knowing it would not only be awkward, but it would also piss off my girlfriend back home. The director still wanted me to find a Japanese host family for the night, despite already having a perfectly good bed waiting for me.

    In the afternoon, I stopped at a small motorcycle shop to get an oil change. The owner of the shop asked if I had found a place to stay, and the director hinted that I had not. One of the mechanics volunteered his house for the night and I was obliged to accept.

    The mechanic, Ito-san, lived about 30 minutes outside of the city by car and an hour by Cub, luckily he had a truck. On the way to his home, we listened to a Sheryl Crow CD on loop in an awkward silence. Ito-san’s house was a log cabin in a little suburban tract, when he welcomed me into his garage, I saw his custom-styled R100GS and knew we had a lot to talk about. Fortunately his daughter spoke English and was there to translate!

    As we sat in the kitchen the seemingly stoic Ito-san turned out to be a total ham. We chatted through the night about Dakar, adventure bikes and film cameras. When I showed him my Contax T2, and he rushed to his closet to show me his. After a brief moment, he said “I don’t use any more… you take!” and he handed it over to me.

    I learned that Ito-san was actually a retired sushi chef who just worked as a mechanic to help his friend, the owner of the aforementioned shop. I also learned that the groundskeeper from the campground in Toya-ko was a friend of his and had mentioned meeting Mr. Cub to him hours before I arrived at the shop! That night while I slept, unbeknownst to me, he adjusted my chain and brakes, changed my spark plugs, and added neoprene muffs to my handlebars. The next morning, with my freshly maintained bike I headed north to Soya Misaki with the TV crew following close behind.

    It took two days of riding to reach Soya Misaki. Following the northwestern coast of Hokkaido, the air was wet, cold and windy. My campsite along the way was nearby a shinto shrine carved into the seaside cliffs, it was freezing cold, but I greatly enjoyed sitting on the rocks and watching the waves come and go.
    [​IMG]
    The next day I made it to the town of Wakkanai and turned northeast for the 30km stretch to Soya Misaki. The wind grew increasingly intense with every inch I traveled north. 5km from the northernmost point in Japan a massive gust of wind blew my little bike off the road and into a grassy shoulder. I caught my breath and calmed my nerves, I needed to get my blood flowing so I turned to my secret weapon… fumbling through my phone with shaky hands I played ‘Born to Run’ on repeat as loud as I possibly could. Kicked the bike to life and floored it headfirst into the wind, singing along at the top of my lungs… a few minutes later… I made it to the tippy top.
    [​IMG]
    On the way back to Wakkanai, my bike suddenly lost power. It took a hundred kicks to bring it back to life and limp its way back to town… that night, after feasting on fresh-caught crab with the crew, I worked on the bike in the freezing cold and brought the bike back to life. This to me is the magic of little Hondas, any idiot like me can fix nearly any problem with a set of spanners and a multitool.

    The next morning, the TV departed and I rode over 300km to Asahikawa. Along the way there was still a foot of snow on the ground in most places. I tried my hand at riding down a snow-packed street, and quickly found that a fully-loaded 50cc bike does not have enough power to muscle through snow… but at least I got a cool photo out of the deal.
    [​IMG]
    The next morning, while loading my bike in front of my hostel in Asahikawa, five people seperate people recognized me from TV and came to wish me luck. That evening I returned to Ito-san’s home and spent the next day with his wife and daughter driving around Sapporo, he took me to his sushi restaurant, now operated by his brother… let me tell you dear readers… that was some damn good fish.

    The next day, I said my farewells to the Ito family and rode back down to Hakodate and took the ferry back to Aomori. In Aomori, the TV crew met me for my last day on the bike. I was told we were to film a few scenes at Hirosaki Castle and call it a day… however, the director had set up a surprise for me: the Morinaga family (the previous owners of the bike) came out to greet and congratulate me for finishing my tour.

    [​IMG]

    Morinaga-san teared up when he saw his father’s bike again, and we had a beautiful little moment among the rain and cherry blossoms. After a walk around the castle, the crew and I took the bike to a shipper and I took the train back to Tokyo, and again flew home.

    But of course, the story doesn’t end here...


    More soon.
    #46
  7. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

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    That cab be fixed here
    #47
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  8. Ironchef

    Ironchef Warren

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    By chance I saw you on tv when the first episode aired about time I was eating dinner one night. I was not aware of your further travels. Really wished I had seen the later episodes.
    Interesting to read the other side of the story with the show. Thanks for posting!
    #48
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  9. Lanis

    Lanis Full Time Wanderer Supporter

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    Mr. Cub-san

    Your Ride Report has had me laughing out loud as I read. Nothing beats the oddity of Japanese television. I am glad your tour went well. Please keep updating.

    P.S. you should have taken up the offers for a place to stay from random girls. Now that would have been an adventure!!!!!!!

    LLL
    #49
  10. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    I've been pretty busy with work this week, so I haven't had much time to continue the story... but here's a funny side note: After my second trip to Japan, Honda sent a crew to LA to film me for a commercial:



    Maybe one of these days they're send me some free bikes!
    #50
  11. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    Hello friends, I’m finally back with the last bit of the Mr.Cub saga (for now).

    I returned to the States from my big Hokkaido trip in May 2016 and went back to work a few weeks later. In August of that year a crew from Honda Japan came to my office to make a short web commercial (previously posted) and that same month the episode aired of my Hokkaido trip in Japan. I put the Mr.Cub trips on hold for a year, and made some non-televised travels through Mexico, but it didn’t take too long before I felt the urge to go on another Mr. Cub trip, so I began planning.

    The plan this time was to hit up the major cities in Japan and host group rides, announced twitter/instagram etc. I picked a handful of online followers and asked them for their help in picking a route, time, meeting place, etc. After a month or so of planning, I had a scheduled rides for Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nara. I dubbed these group rides “Mr. Cub’s Cub Club Cub Crawl”. I would also surprise the family in Okayama who gave me the bike the previous year. And so, in May of last year, I hopped on another plane to Tokyo for another round.

    I spent the first day in Tokyo preparing the bike for the trip, meeting with the TV crew and buying supplies. The next day I rode to the western edge of Tokyo to meet up with the first group of a about a dozen Cub riders, and set out for a ride around the gorges and hot springs of Hinohara. This ride was fantastic, the people who came along were all fun and easy going and everyone was friendly without being too pushy. I camped out in a little shack near a soba restaurant and woke up bright and early for the ride to Mt. Fuji, where an even larger group would be waiting.

    [​IMG]

    In Hinohara on the morning of the Fuji ride I was met by Ozawa-san, a motorcycle magazine writer and gearhead kindred spirit. Ozawa was writing a story on my trip for “Lady’s Bike” magazine. As you might have guessed, it is a magazine for women motorcyclists. He brought with him a young woman referred to as a ‘Cub Idol’. She was (and this is the most Japanese thing ever) a model whose career largely consists of posing with Super Cubs. All of the guys on the Cub Crawls knew who she was… go figure. The Cub Idol didn’t speak English, but she was mainly just along for the ride and to take pictures with me for the magazine.
    [​IMG]
    When I arrived at the meeting point for the Mt. Fuji ride a few hours later, I was surprised to find fifty Super Cubs waiting for me. The ride organizer, (who despite having the given name of Ichiro, prefered to be called Tony) had a planned a whole to-do for me, including giving a speech in a rented conference room and signing autographs like I was at Comic-Con. After the meet and greet festivities were over, we set off on our group ride up the Mt. Fuji Subaru road and around the lakes near Mt. Fuji. This ride was exhausting, every minute I was off my bike, I was posing for photos with the ride participants. At one point, at the top of Subaru line, I spent twenty minutes trying to eat a convenience store donut, only to be interrupted every few seconds for more poses in front of a scenic… retaining wall. After the ride, I posed for the magazine photos with the Cub Idol and climbed into my tent with a crystal clear view of Mt. Fuji. The TV crew left and I was finally on my own.

    While it was kinda nice to experience a day of unbridled celebrity, it was so much nicer to be on my own for the next week and tearing up the pavement at 40km/h. I rode from Mt. Fuji to Matsumoto city and Shirakawa-go (a historic Edo-period village in Gifu). The weather on this trip was perfect, temperatures in the low 70s, with sunshine nearly everyday. I’m usually an ATGATT rider, but traveling at only 40-50km/h in warm weather, the moto suit was a bit much. I took to riding in a t-shirt during the daytime was absolutely fantastic… and something I would never do on my Transalp.
    [​IMG]
    While camping out near Shirakawa, I met an American expat on a custom rainbow Harley Davidson chopper, he recognized me from the TV and we had a good chat that night over convenience store noodles. The next morning I rode to Nagoya to visit my friends, the Yokoyama family (with whom I had stayed with 2 years prior). After a couple of days in Nagoya, camped out on the shores of Lake Biwa and rode into Kyoto the next day.

    In Kyoto I met up with the TV crew and later Takiyama-san, the owner of Eagle Motors, a Cub-centric bike shop on the northside of the city. At his shop, Takiyama gave me an oil change, new front tire, chain and spark plugs, all free of charge. He even set me up with a place to stay while I was in Kyoto and introduced me to his lovely family. The TV crew filmed some B-roll of me putzing around Kyoto the next day and then headed to Tokyo. That night, Takiyama and a handful of his friends (all on vintage Cub variants) took me for moonlit rides around the shrines and narrow streets Kyoto. It was an absolute blast. On my last of my day in the city, Takiyama-san, his wife (on her own pink cub), and their daughter (sitting pillion) went out for a long ride around the countryside. I didn’t want to leave Kyoto but I had to get back on the road again.
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    [​IMG]
    From Kyoto I rode north to Tottori along the sea of Japan. Every mile of pavement felt like a dream version of PCH, perfect twisty roads situated along beautiful green cliffs that sank into the bright blue water, with only a dozen or so cars passing by the entire day. From Tottori I followed the coast to Sakaiminato where I would meet up with the TV crew again. The crew was to follow me for the next eight days, which meant very little alone time.

    From Tottori, my destination was the Akitakata, Hiroshima. Therein I met up with Yamamoto-san (from the first trip) and spent a few days with him and his family. A few days later I rode to Onomichi where the next Cub Crawl was to begin.

    The morning of the Cub Crawl I woke up 2-3 hours early and decided to pack the bike early, but quickly realized that I was missing my keys. I spent the next two hours combing through the hotel and retracing my steps all over Onomichi. I never found them. It was a Sunday and all of the locksmiths in town were closed for the day, so I walked to Onomichi station where the day’s riders were waiting for me and I delivered the bad news, the ride would have to be cancelled. Upon hearing this, all of the riders hopped on their bikes and came with me to my hotel and disassembled my bike, removed my ignition unit, scurried off to a nearby Honda dealer and returned with a new set of keys. It took all of 30 minutes.

    So, with only and hour delay, my new friends and I hopped on our bikes and rode along the Shimanami Kaido Bike Path connecting the dozen-or-so islands between Honshu and Shikoku. At the end of the ride most of my new friends left, and a couple of the day’s riders came along to camp with me in Shikoku. The next morning, they departed and I took the ferry to Okayama where I would surprise the Morinaga Family and thank them in person for giving me my bike.

    [​IMG]

    -to be continued-
    #51
  12. Franque

    Franque Been here awhile

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    Any more things to report? I really liked this thread.
    #52
  13. horseiron1

    horseiron1 Been here awhile

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    Very Awesome. Thanks for sharing:clap:clap
    #53
  14. Operator7G

    Operator7G Adventurer

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    What a fantastic story! Unfortunately, a lot of the pictures aren't coming up for me. When I try to open them in a separate window, it gives a URL expired message. Anyone else have this problem?
    #54
  15. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy Supporter

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    Same here. They were there the first time I read the story.Videos still work.
    #55
  16. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

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    Sure would love to see those missing photos.
    #56
  17. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    Is there another place to view your photo's, that are now missing?
    #57
  18. BX DS

    BX DS Great googly-moogly

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    en why see
    During the weeks before my trip to Japan recently, I tried to come up with an interesting story to tell if I was approached at the airport.

    Once we landed, I accidentally left my passport on the plane. It was a little hectic until we finally got through customs. Literally two seconds after getting through customs the tv crew rushed me and I completely blanked on what to say.

    Deer in the headlights. :muutt
    #58
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  19. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    I'll try and host them somewhere permanent. In the meantime, 90% of the images can be found on my instagram @nathanconnelly

    edit: it is done!

    I have been derelict in my duties! I am writing the last (for now) part of the story right now. I'll post soon!
    #59
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  20. naconn

    naconn Adventurer

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    Hello all, sorry it has taken so long completing this story. This will be the final post in this story. (until I go for another trip, that is)

    After arriving by ferry in Okayama prefecture, I headed inland to surprise the Morinaga family. I arrived a little over an hour later and knocked on the door. Mr. Morinaga’s elderly mother answered the door, her vision was poor, and she couldn’t recognize me, but when asked who was there, I replied “Mr. Cub”. She was so surprised to see me and even more surprised to learn that I had arrived by bike. When she saw her late husband’s bike sitting in her driveway again, she started to cry as she patted the seat. She then hopped on her bicycle and rode down the street where Mr. Morinaga was working in his garden.

    [​IMG]

    When he saw me, his jaw dropped and he gave me a big hug. Without hesitation, he insisted I stay at his house for the night.

    Within an hour, the Morinaga family assembled a sushi feast for the camera crew and I. While we all ate and drank, Morinaga’s mother told us an interesting story: The morning before I arrived, while cleaning the floors, she randomly found her late husband’s license photo. Her husband’s only vehicle was his super cub, now my super cub. She was certain his spirit was sending a message that his bike was coming back. After dinner, the family asked me to place the photo in the elder Morinaga-san’s altar, light incense and say a prayer. I happily did so.

    Over the next day, the Morinaga family took me all over town, culminating in an evening of drinks and karaoke at their favorite hotspots. The next morning, I packed up my bike, said goodbye to the Morinaga family and set out for Osaka alone in the pouring rain.

    The ride to Osaka was the worst day of the trip. It was the longest single-day distance of the entire trip, and I had to do it all in relentless rain. To make matters worse, this leg of the trip involved my gps frequently sending me down roads my 50cc bike couldn’t legally ride on. Worse still, I discovered that the lining of my ‘waterproof’ riding pants had worn out in the crotch, but remained intact in the legs, creating a perfect system to collect water in my underwear and funnel it directly into by boots from the top. So after 8 hours of riding and what felt like a million detours and in the rain, I made it to my hotel in Osaka. In what felt like an atrocity to polite Japanese society, I changed out of my dripping wet clothes in the lobby bathroom, leaving a long puddle of rainwater behind me. When I finally took of my boots, I was able to pour a soup can’s worth of water from each boot. After checking in and showering, I met up with a friend for drinks and a badly needed hot meal.

    The next day my friend showed me around Osaka and took me to a knife factory (he makes and markets high-end kitchen knives), and we managed to score last-minute tickets to the Hanshin Tigers vs Orix Buffaloes baseball game and pleasant stroll through the city at night. The next morning, I packed up my (still wet) gear and traveled a quick hour to Nara prefecture where I would stay with Okuda-san, the head of the Nara Cub Club. That evening, Okuda took me to his friends’ cafe where a feast would served for members of the Nara Cub Club and myself, after plenty of food and drinks, we headed back to the house to sleep.

    Bright and early the next morning, Okuda and I went off to the rallying point, where once again dozens of Super Cub riders came out to ride with me. We rode to a handful of scenic and historic spots in Nara prefecture and posed for plenty of selfies with the riders. In the afternoon it was time for me to pack up and head to Nagoya, to stay with the Yokoyama family again.
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    My ride between Nara and Nagoya is one of those curious things about motorcycle adventures… the kind of day that you hate with a fiery passion when you’re experiencing it, but in retrospect you find yourself yearning to experience when the doldrums of daily life get the better you. This will probably seem insignificant compared to the rest of the big stories in this thread… but I feel compelled to tell it anyway.

    The cities of Nara and Nagoya are roughly 250 km apart, and are connected by a couple of toll-free expressways, which as you might imagine do not permit 50cc bikes, let alone massively overloaded 50cc bikes. Typically, Google Maps does a good enough job of avoiding expressways when told to, but has trouble in Japan avoiding toll-free expressways, and being the lazy improv-prone traveler that I am, I didn’t bother to map a cub-friendly route between my destinations. About 50 km outside of Nara my gps attempted to send me on one of said expressways, forcing me to ditch the route and bushwhack my way through the only available option, an endless and overgrown frontage road where it seemed no human had been in years. This road was about the width of a compact car and followed the topography of the land tightly, there were countless steep hills which caused my little bike to climb a snail’s pace… I found myself dozens of kilometers deep into this jungle-like road without seeing any sign of civilization or even an intersection. Eventually, the bike’s engine began to putter and I flipped the petcock to reserve… only 20 kms worth of gas left… I kept puttering along nervously until, on a particularly steep hill… the engine cut out completely and the tank was completely out of gas. Fortunately, I had a half liter of gas for my camp stove and poured in. I kicked the bike back to life, and slowly made it up the hill, cursing every inch of the way. One or two kilometers later I found an intersection and blindly took it, with my bike running on fumes, the dense forest thinned out and I found myself in a small town with a single gas station. I filled up the bike, dug out my paper maps and charted a route to Nagoya, arriving at nearly 10pm, exhausted.

    From this point on, I was in the home stretch. I would arrive back in Tokyo two days later, stopping at the occasional scenic view to take a few pictures… but it was all pretty uneventful. I returned the bike to TV Tokyo and flew home soon after.[​IMG]
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    This is where the motorcycling portion of the story ends for now. A few months after this trip, I was flown out by TV Tokyo to make a brief appearance on the show, but didn’t get to ride. In the time since then, they’ve aired a new episode of my last trip and made a handful of new episodes compiling outtakes from the others. I also did an illustration for a Japanese Honda web ad (see below). I still get quite a few messages and friend requests from Japanese fans and intend to go back for another trip as soon as I can find the time.
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    That's it for now!
    #60