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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    A popular activity is to rent boats and take a leisurely ride beneath the small waterfalls that flow into the gorge. Very pretty!

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    Our daylight hours are short enough as it is! The mountains are no help at all when the sun disappears below them at 4:30PM!
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  2. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    I can totally picture the lava cutting through the rock when I see these striations on the gorge walls

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    Beautiful reflections on the Gokase River's waters

    We are one of the last people to leave the Gorge as we climb back onto our bikes. There's about 140 kms we still need to cover if we want to make it to the next populated centre further south.

    So ironic that in the Land of the Rising Sun, it always feels like we are racing against the setting sun every evening.
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  3. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Although the days have been getting noticeably longer since we arrived in Japan, this was quite a long riding day and we pulled into the city of Miyazaki well after sunset. We haven't booked any hotel or AirBnB yet, plus we are starving (!), having eaten nothing since a late breakfast.

    Just as we cross into the city limits, we see a large lit sign by the side of the road with pictures of well-marbled red meat! Yes! We are totally in the mood for meat! Also, we can sit down in a warm restaurant and try to find a place to sleep tonight.

    Usually we would have taken the time to search for a cheap Japanese chain restaurant, like a Yoshinoya or Coco Curryhouse, but today is a special day. It's Neda's birthday, so we are treating her to a nice dinner! Fifth birthday on the road! :D

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    Taking our shoes/boots off is a regular ritual before entering any building in Japan. Once we're in, we treat ourselves to a meat fest!
    You can see Neda is straightening her chopsticks the proper Japanese way - with two hands. She is so nerdy that way...

    Yakiniku is Japanese BBQ. It's heavily borrowed from the Korean BBQ restaraunts where they bring you plates of raw meat and you cook it yourself over a personal grill set in the middle of the table. It's not really traditional as Yakiniku only came to Japan after WWII, but it's very popular here, especially in Miyazaki because they are known for their Wagyu beef in this prefecture.

    What is Wagyu beef? It's a special way of breeding cattle so they have lots of marbled fat in the meat. VERY TASTY! But very expensive. We only ordered a small plate to taste (it was delicious!), and had regular meat and seafood to fill ourselves up. I've heard Wagyu cattle get regular massages by Japanese women and then are fed a steady diet of beer to raise their fat content, but wikipedia says this is a myth. That's too bad, because massages and beer totally sounds like a place I could stay at for awhile. Um... minus the slaughter at the end of the stay, I guess...
  4. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    During dinner, we hopped on the Internet and found a budget business hotel situated right in the centre of the city. So off we go! But as soon as we depart the restaurant, it's freezing once again because the sun has disappeared. Thankfully, it's a short ride into town at city speeds and traffic is sparse because it is so late at night. We circle around the deserted streets of Miyazaki in the dark, searching for the hotel.

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    Street parking in Miyazaki

    The hotel doesn't have covered parking for our motorcycles. There's a paid parking lot across the street, but the staff just told us to park outside the front door. For the first time in Japan, we're just leaving the bikes out on the street! 8O

    This doesn't concern us too much. Japan is probably the safest country we've ever visited. Really enjoying our travels through the Land of the Rising Sun!
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  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/402.html

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    Miyazaki is the furthest south we'll venture in Japan. Today, we're heading to the north-west corner of the island of Kyushu.

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    Passing by a Suzuki shop. I'm way more aware of Japanese brands now that we're in Japan

    Suzuki doesn't have that large a presence in Canada, but there's a Suzuki shop and signs everywhere in Japan!

    It's a pleasant, if not a bit chilly, morning's ride through the mountains of Kyushu. The road we're on offers us some scenic riverside views. The town of Hitayoshi is about an hour west of Miyazaki. We stop to grab a quick brunch before doing some exploring.
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  6. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We heard about this great gyoza shop in Hitayoshi, so we dropped in for some dumplings

    The guy who ran the place didn't speak any English, so we just pointed at the pictures on the menu: some chicken, some beef and some veggie dumplings. The plates come with 15 gyozas each and because we hadn't had breakfast yet, we scarfed them all down in a matter of minutes. They were delicious!!!

    Our gyoza guy came out to see how we were doing and he was very surprised we had finished them all so fast. He grunted out a very Japanese "Hoi?", just like an anime character in all the shows that we've been watching lately, which made us LOL!

    We ordered another plate of gyozas and took our time with the second helping of dumplings. Because the place wasn't that busy, our gyoza guy came to "talk" to us. He had seen our bikes parked outside so he showed us pictures on his phone - he was a motorcycle rider as well, riding some kind of Japanese cruiser. Cool! The brotherhood of bikers transcends all language!
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  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    There's a shrine nearby we want to visit. On our ride over, we see cherry blossoms!

    We've been enviously reading the news about the early cherry blossoms sprouting up in Tokyo due to the unusually warm weather they've been having. Now they've finally bloomed here in the south! So beautiful! Neda is very happy, this is what she's been waiting for all this time we've been in Japan!

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    Outside the Aoi Aso shrine
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  8. wilfred

    wilfred juvenile delinquent Supporter

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  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    I had to click back to see which video you were referring to.

    2015! Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago!
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  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Neda feeds the ducks in the river outside the shrine. There's a little self-serve kiosk nearby where you can leave a ¥100 coin in exchange for a small bag of crumbs

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    Cherry blossoms in front of the very pretty red bridge outside of Aoi Aso shrine
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  11. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Inside Ao Aso shrine, we see a priest walking into one of the buildings

    He's wearing the purple robes which signifies he's high-ranking. Lesser priests wear lighter blue. The black hat he's wearing is called a kanburi, which is part of the formal-wear worn by ancient nobility.

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    Shinto priest giving a blessing

    So I found out that these Shinto priests bless not only people, but possessions as well, since they believe that everything including inanimate objects has a spirit. It's popular to perform this ceremony on everyday items like cars and cellphones, to protect them from bad luck, like being in a car accident or dropping your phone in the toilet when you're using them while sitting on a high-tech washlet! :)

    This totally reminded me of the Hindu puja ceremony in India, where our Royal Enfield motorcycles were blessed against bad luck.

    Looking back on that trip, it didn't help...
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  12. ItsNotTooLate

    ItsNotTooLate Adventurer

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    When I was a kid I wanted to visit Japan, but since I couldn't, I'd read books by Japanese authors. One was called "Spring Snow" by Yukio Mishima. Never really got the title until years later. I was in a park in Kyoto, a cherry tree forest of sorts. Anyway, the wind blew and I had an epiphany! What a moment!!!
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  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Yes, the ephemeral beauty of falling cherry blossom petals. So soulful. A time to reflect on how short life is, and to appreciate the here and the now - something that really appeals to the both of us. It's a such an integral part of the Japanese culture, books (like the one you read) and whole movies have been made about it.



    We went through a phase where we gorged on Japanese animes and food shows. This one, although a bit sappy, was beautifully drawn.
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  14. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We already know walking through these red torii gates signify a transition to the sacred.
    The thinking here is that if one is good then a whole bunch in a row is even better!

    The Japanese seem to love multiplying artifacts, be they flags on the side of the paths and stairs, to torii gates! When it comes to good mojo, you can never have enough, it seems!

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    Some scenes around the Aoi Aso shrine
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  15. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Family of tiny Shinto statues

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    Saying goodbye to the cherry blossoms and Hitayoshi

    With our bellies full of gyozas, we hop back on our bikes. From here, we are heading north up the western side of Kyushu island.
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  16. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Another hour of riding and we enter the outskirts of Kumamoto, Kyushu's largest city. Cherry blossoms along the side of the road welcome us.

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    We can't find any free motorcycle parking in downtown Kumamoto, so we pull into one of the private buildings to park in their lot

    I spotted a scooter and bicycle parked underneath a building, so I slid my motorcycle beside them. In the picture above, Neda says, "You're going to get towed for sure. I'm parking here, under these trees".

    Hah! I think *she's* going to get towed for sure parking over there. We'll just have to see when we get back... Game on!
  17. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    If I've missed it along the way I apologize but, whatever became of the film you were involved in? I believe you said it was going to be on Netflix but, may have that wrong. I'd love to see it!
  18. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Not aware of any Netflix film that we're involved in.

    There was a guy who made documentaries for Discovery Channel that contacted us when we first started out, but nothing ever came of that. Is that what you are referring to?
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  19. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Walking through the streets of Kumamoto

    We're actually not here to see the city itself. The Kumamoto Castle is right downtown, so we're making our way over there.

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    We enter the park where the castle is and are greeted by blooming cherry blossoms. Nice!

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    Cherry blossoms and Kumamoto Castle

    We're a bit disappointed because we can't go into the castle. In April 2016, a 7.0M earthquake hit Kumamoto and the castle as well as many other buildings in the area were destroyed. In the last year, reconstruction efforts have been underway to rebuild the castle. On the grounds, we saw bits of the castle on the grass, all labeled with numbers so they could repiece it together again.

    The Japanese are so efficient!
  20. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    Yes! I got my formats cornfoosed! Too bad it didn't pan out!