Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    The view from our hotel room in Tokushima

    Although Tokushima is one of the larger cities in Shikoku (population ~260,000), it's nowhere as large as Tokyo (population ~13,000,000!), and the traffic is so much lighter here!

    This blog entry won't be too long because we are taking another rest day before we explore the rest of Shikoku. We were travel fatigued even before we got to Japan, so we want to make sure our journey through this magical country is as leisurely and stress-free as possible!

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    The fastest production pharmacy in the world! Also, in the city, there are more English labels here. Like on the toilet seat in our hotel!

    Finally we can decipher what some of the buttons in the super-hi-tech toilets (called washlets) do. Japan's washlets have become world-renown for their array of comfort features. Most of the technology is embedded in the toilet seat, and you can retrofit your existing toilet by just buying the seat. Basic heated seats cost $200. The top-of-the-line full toilets with bidet sprays and wireless remote controls can cost upwards of $10,000 USD!

    There's a bit of an arms race between the manufacturers to see who can pack the most features in their washlet seats. It's gotten so bad that the industry has been forced to come up with universal icons for each feature that all the manufacturers must use because gaijin like us can't read the descriptions written on the buttons.

    Here are some of the buttons and their related functions you'll find on a Japanese washlet:

    - Heated Seat
    - Temperature control (+,-) to set the seat heat
    - Small flush (for #1)
    - Large flush (for #2)
    - Bidet (heated water - rear spray)
    - Bidet for women (heated water - front spray)
    - Temperature control (+,-) to set the bidet water heat
    - Bidet water pressure/pulse action for bidet spray
    - Swivel action for bidet nozzle
    - Music to mask the sounds of splashdown
    - Volume button (+,-) for stealth-mode
    - Choice of which music/sound to play during stealth mode (replica sound of a toilet flushing is one popular option, because after a while, the music will eventually become associated with splashdown anyway - true story!)
    - Deodorizer spray to mask the smell
    - Blow dryer (!!!)
    - Blow dryer strength/temperature (+,-) control
  2. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Here's one I found on the Internet with a wall-mounted remote control. Comes with integrated speakers for the stealth-tinkle-doo-doo music.
    The name of this model roughly translated to English is, "Good Luck, Gaijin!"


    Add to this: energy-saver features like only turning on the heat only when someone enters the washroom (basic heated seats are on all the time). Automatically opening and closing lids. Also, self-cleaning nozzles. This last feature is nicknamed the "Marriage Saver".

    There are more electronics in a Japanese washlet than on the latest BMW R1200GS motorcycle...

    I've heard stories of visitors who have spent some time in Japan, and upon returning back home, immediately order a washlet seat from Japan. They just cannot stand sitting on a cold toilet seat ever again. This is going to be us after we leave Japan. If we ever do...

    We'll have to apply for a loan at the bank though, because I want to get that top-of-the-line model with the music button. So sick of hearing Neda dropping the kids off at the pool every morning...
    ChicoProf, mnTwin, monsterRS and 11 others like this.
  3. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

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  4. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    One nice thing about being in a bigger city is the availability and choices for places to eat

    There are some really expensive, touristy restaurants around the hotel, but with a little poking around, we manage to find some places within our budget where the locals also go.

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    Over the next couple of days, we find a great ramen place, and also a cafeteria-style Japanese curry house.
    Their curry udon is even better than CoCo Curryhouse! :)


    So many things to love about Japan, from its food to its washlet seats. In that order. Chronologically speaking...

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    Walking around town, we spot a couple of figurines on a pedestal. They look like they're doing some kind of martial arts?
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  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    And then further on, we see the same figures in silhouette on the road. Is this a special thing in Tokushima?

    Upon closer inspection, these two figures were everywhere, on store windows, posters, etc.

    I looked up "Awa Odori" on the Internet and discovered that Tokushima is the site of an annual music and dance festival, held at the end of every summer.

    Legend has it that in the 1500s, a feudal lord sent sake out to all the villagers to celebrate after completing construction of his castle in Tokishima (which back then was called Awa). The villagers all got drunk and started stumbling through the streets in a haphazard fashion.

    From then on, every year people danced on the streets in drunken fashion. There's a specific dance movement, which requries raising your right arm and right leg, then your left arm and left leg, exactly like those figurines found all over the city.

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    The Awa Dance. Not my pictures. Taken from the Internet

    These days, hundreds of dancers will take to the streets dressed in colourful costumes. Tens of thousands more come from all over the country and the world, all to take part in the annual drunken dance. Because it's not enough just to spectate. During the dance, everyone chants in Japanese, "It's a fool who dances and a fool who watches! If both are fools, you might as well have fun dancing!" HAHA! So cool!!!

    Just like the huge Fire Festival in Kumano, we are slowly finding out that Japan is home to dozens of these crazy festivals held all over the country at various times of the year. We've now made it a mission to see and take part in at least one of these over-the-top festivals during our trip. It's the next item right after Neda's "Cherry Blossom Festival" on our Japan bucket list!

    That was an excellent rest day in Tokushima. We're off to explore Shikoku now!
    DaleE, monsterRS, dave6253 and 16 others like this.
  6. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    The "Kanamara Matsuri" Festival? They have Kawasaki there!
  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Celebrating today with our sporadically annual tradition of cake and candles!

    If you had asked us when we first set off on June 14th, 2012 where we thought we'd be in seven years time, I doubt our answer would be: "Still riding around the world on motorcycles!"

    The last couple of years have been a tumultuous roller-coaster of ups and downs, wonders and tribulations. Sending a big thank you to everyone who's following us and left us a comment or sent us an e-mail or PM, supporting and encouraging us as we continue our journeys around the globe.

    It's made us feel like we're riding with a whole bunch of folks on our back seats, looking over our shoulders and sharing in everything that we're seeing and doing!

    Love you guys,
    Neda and Gene!

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    MadRider777, navsnipe, Phrog and 54 others like this.
  8. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

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    It's been wonderful following along with you guys. :clap
  9. btrrtlwtr

    btrrtlwtr Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Simply amazing congrats Neda and Gene thanks for your story
  10. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Thanks for taking us along your wonderful journey. I’ve learned so much from all that you shared here. Happy Anniversary :norton
  11. bugdung

    bugdung Adventurer

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    My wife and I met you two in Whitby Ontario and have followed ever since you are funny and inspiring keep enjoying life's up and downs.
    Cheers,
    Jan and Doug
  12. horsti

    horsti Adventurer

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    Hi !
    Thank´s for all the time You invested to write all this down.
    I wish You all the best for the future.
    Very best regards!
    Achim
  13. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts. Supporter

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    Congratulations! I've truly enjoyed reading the Neda and Gene reports. Your ability to keep going has been utterly amazing. Well done!!!:thumb
    mikegc likes this.
  14. Vrode

    Vrode Not going there Supporter

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    Happy Anny!!!

    Thanks for letting us ride along.
  15. Juanillo

    Juanillo Adventurer

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    Sincere congratulations Gene and Neda, and thanks a lot also for the time invested to let us know your amazing adventures!
  16. macuaig

    macuaig Hung Up the Spurs

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    Gene, I just caught up on your website, and can appreciate your re-entry funk. And I just have to say that after starting to set down roots again, when Neda said she’d go back out on the road until you could shake it off...well, I damn near wept. That’s quite a woman you’ve got in your life there, son. Remember, adventures are everywhere!
    eddyturn likes this.
  17. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

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    what are those bmw bikes you are riding? thanks
  18. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Been here awhile

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    BMW's? Na i think they only ride huskys and ktms now
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  19. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Been here awhile

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    Congratulations on 7 Wonderful, Exciting, Beautiful, Adventurous and Bonding years!!! It has been pure enjoyment for all of us to be involved with your and Neda's journey. Thank you both for that. So now, GET BACK to writing. We all miss you both and your comedy in your writing. At least Pictures! Most of us are entertained very easily with pictures.
  20. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Guys, thanks so much for sharing your trip diary with us! You two are an inspiration in many ways.