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

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

  1. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    Would a one-piece bathing suit not cover up the tattoo or is that something not in keeping with the experience?
  2. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Not really. It's a bath house, so total nekkedness is the norm.

    Pics to follow...
  3. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Just like most things in Japan, there is a strict etiquette in how to onsen. The pools are not chlorinated at all, so everyone who enters has to wash and scrub their bodies vigorously before they go in so there are no stray hairs or body oils floating around in the onsen. There are many wash stations situated around the onsen, equipped with soap, shampoo, wash clothes, buckets and a little shower head.

    When you enter the onsen, you're supposed to put your towel on your head so it doesn't get wet.

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    Performing the pre-onsen cleansing ritual. And then... aaaaaaahhhhhhh!

    Onsen etiquette is a very good example of the Japanese culture of conformity.

    These wash stations are always situated around the onsen in plain view of everyone in the pool. They're not hidden away. This is so everybody can scrutinize you scrubbing your body clean before you enter the onsen - a sort of policing by peer pressure: "Hey Gai-Gene.. you missed a spot!"

    Everyone's behaviour in Japan is always for the benefit of society, whether it's wearing a facemask in public so you don't spread your own germs, using an umbrella condom so you don't drip water everywhere when you carry your brolly indoors, or scrubbing your butt clean so you don't pollute the onsen. Disregard for others is seen as deviant behaviour and there is huge pressure to conform to this code. And extreme shame and ostracism if you don't.

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    Japanese Proverb

    This is in stark contrast to the western way of thinking, where personal liberty is placed ahead of the common good. There, the prevailing attitude is: "Everybody's got rights - and my rights are more important than yours!"

    I hate that kind of mentality.

    In Japan, there's a pendulum swing to the other extreme, where there's a narrow set of behaviour that's tolerated in this society. Maybe it stifles individualism, creative thinking, experimenting with different ways of doing things. But personally, I prefer that over the rampant selfishness, callousness and disregard for others that I see in the west.

    Rant over.
    SirLancelot, Sarang, Phrog and 35 others like this.
  4. mnTwin

    mnTwin Been here awhile

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    "Gai-Gene"

    :imaposer
  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    In this Japanese version of Turn Down Service, the maids come in and actually make the futons for you! So cool!!!

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    We decide to take another rest day to explore Obama. Because it's raining once again. :(
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  6. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Not fog. The city is shrouded in steam on this cold spring day.

    It's like the entire place is sitting upon a lid covering a cauldron of boiling water. Steam escapes through vents and short chimney stacks set right on the sidewalk. It even seems like it billows out through open windows in the buildings around us. All of it hangs heavy in the air around us, indistinguishable from fog.

    It all feels so... volatile...

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    All the businesses here make good use of this geothermal activity. Here we walk by restaurants using it to steam cook their food.
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  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We find a nice seafood restaurant. Kind of ironic with all this geothermally cooked food everywhere, we're opting for raw fish. Mmmm... sushi. So goooood!!!

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    After lunch, we continue walking through the steamy city. More vendors, keeping their food warm by geothermal heat
  8. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Just think, if you had leased your house out, you would get income and have someone else paying off your mortgage
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  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We head down to the shore, to Obama Marine Park. So funny seeing Obama everywhere,
    it almost seems like they are milking the relationship to the US President

    I just found out that in front of Obama Onsen, there is a mannequin of Barack Obama welcoming visitors in. Totally milking it!

    [​IMG]
    At Obama Marine Park, we stumble upon a long roofed structure...
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  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    It's a 105 meter long foot bath called... Hot Foot 105 - of course! There's a little stand where you can rent a bucket and a towel

    The geothermally-heated water is piped in from the ground and it feels super hot when you first dip your feet in. But on this cold spring day, it takes no time at all before you get acclimatized to the heat, which then radiates up through your entire body making you feel warm and cozy all over!

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    Haha! What a way to spend a cold rainy day outside! We didn't want to leave!
    SirLancelot, Dale402, DaleE and 14 others like this.
  11. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Is there a pre-soak washing like with the onsens?
  12. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Haha, it's actually a hot spring stream, so fresh hot water is continuously piped in from the ground. I guess you could sit as far upstream as you could, if you're really concerned about other people's toe-jam-plantars-wart-nail-fungus-cooties, but the water's probably the hottest there! :D

    aaaaaaand I'm hungry again...
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  13. GraceDuffy

    GraceDuffy n00b

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    It is a great story, thanks for sharing!)
  14. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Back in our hotel room, Neda chows down on a cup of noodle soup while reading her Kindle. This is our go-to quick-prep meal here in Japan. My personal favorite is the Big Curry Noodle Cup - I'm addicted to it! Everytime we stop for the evening, we make a pit-stop at the konbini and pick up a couple of noodle soups for dinner. Cheap and delicious!

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    The theme for this blog post is "Steam", like on Neda's glasses! :)
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  15. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    It would seem like a dangerous idea to take part in an onsen after a meal that was heavy on beans? Must be a severe faux pas! I guess if I saw someone get in holding a cigarette lighter I would take that as a sign to leave!! :lol3
  16. bocutter ed

    bocutter ed Been here awhile

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    That would be the original bubble bath
  17. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    "The point of the journey is not to arrive.
    Anything can happen."


    from "Prime Mover" written by Neil Peart



    Neil Peart came into my life at many different times.

    In the fall of 1984, my dad got two promotional tickets to a Rush concert. He asked who I wanted to go with. There was a kid who I went to elementary school with a couple of years before. Ed and I used to hang out at his house after school to play video games while listening to his older brother's albums - Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rush. There was always this element of excitement and danger because his brother had threatened to beat the crap out of Ed if he touched any of his records.

    My parents made me take piano lessons, so the only music I really knew was Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.

    Ed made me a mix-tape with the whole 2112 album on one side. So Rush was the pretty much the first real rock band that I listened to.

    I hadn't seen Ed since elementary school, but I called him up anyway cause he was such a huge Rush fan and I asked if he wanted to go. Of course he said yes.

    My dad dropped the both of us in front of Maple Leaf Gardens and told us he'd pick us up at the same spot after the concert ended. We Rushed inside, two 13-year-old kids in a crowd of really old people. They must have all been like 20-years old or something.

    Everyone booed the opening act, so we did as well. Some band nobody heard of. Red Rider.

    Nobody in that arena had any idea that in a few years, the guy singing on stage would write "Life is a Highway" and become one of Canada's most well-known musicians.

    Rush comes on stage and Alex Lifeson plays the opening notes of "Spirit of Radio". The audience goes nuts! Power chords and drums kick in and then a sea of a thousand arms go up, all playing air-drums in perfect unison with Neil Peart's rapid-fire rounds on the toms and snare.

    I'd never seen anything so perfectly synchronized and orchestrated on such a large scale like that in my life. Ed and I looked at each other wide-eyed. AWESOME!

    Forty years later, Ed and I are still best friends. A bond forged by Rush and air-drumming to Neil Peart's rhythms.

    "Alternating currents
    Force a show of hands"


    -----------------------------------------------

    A few years ago, our group of friends got into a video game called Rock Band. You know, with the plastic guitars with buttons instead of strings, and the round plastic pads that you beat on with real drumsticks.

    I got addicted to beating on those round plastic pads.

    I play music so I know that Rock Band guitars are nothing like playing a real guitar. But I was very impressed with how the Rock Band drumkit so closely mimicked a real drumset; how it teaches you the kind of four-limb independence (ok three-limbs in the video game) that you need to play the drums in real life.

    I went to a music store and sat behind a set of drums to see how my video game skills measured up in the real world.

    It didn't sound too bad. Not good either. But not terrible.

    So I bought the drum kit and took it home.

    I didn't want to take lessons, so I just watched a ton of YouTube videos and who better to give you tips on how to play drums and inspire you than Neil Peart?

    I must have watched every single drum video he made. All that Rush music that I listened to as a kid suddenly took on a new dimension because I now understood, really UNDERSTOOD, just how complex the stuff he was doing was behind those two other guys.

    Stuff like polyrhythms, each limb playing in a different time signature, incorporating tribal rhythms into his playing, mixing electronic drums and MIDI triggers with an acoustic kit.

    Around that time, the Best Drummer In The World was stretching himself and learning how to drum using Traditional Grip, with the left hand holding the stick with an underhand grip to play the snare. Mainly jazz and big band drummers use this grip.

    The culmination of all of this was that he was hosting a Buddy Rich tribute concert in New York City. This was back in 2008.

    A friend from work who is also a drummer and The-Biggest-Neil-Peart-Fan I know, managed to also get Neda and I tickets to see the show, so we flew there especially for that.

    Neil had invited a whole bunch of drummers to play at the tribute. Mainly jazz and big band players, of course, since it was a Buddy Rich tribute. I was so new to drumming I didn't recognize any of them except for Chad Smith who played a couple of Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes.

    When Neil took the stage, he played a few Big Band songs, then he started talking about his journey of learning a new style of playing drums. That really connected with me because I had just started playing drums and here was The Master himself also on that same path. Just light years ahead of me...

    And then he went into this monster drum solo that made everyone's jaw drop in amazement.

    -----------------------------------------------

    I didn't know Neil Peart rode motorcycles until after Neda and I got our licenses.

    We had just started getting into extended motorcycle traveling and we were devouring anything in the media that was related. We watched Long Way Round and bought the book. Knowing that I was a big Rush fan, Neda also told me that Neil Peart wrote about his long motorcycle ride after his daughter and wife died.

    While reading Ghost Rider, I was surprised to find out that he too rode a BMW GS.

    Around that time, I got Neda into Rush and she also became a huge fan. Mainly because Neil also rode motorcycles. So she's actually more of a Neil fan than a Rush fan. We went to see a few concerts over the years, she was quite excited to see the Buddy Rich tribute in NYC.

    And then a few years later, Neda and I would also embark on this long motorcycle trip, our first steps following almost the same route that Neil documented in his book: Eastern Canada up to Alaska, and then down to Mexico and Belize.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that Neil Peart directly influenced our decision to Quit our Jobs, Sell our Home and Go Riding, but his tunes were definitely playing in the background.

    Neil's lyrics at the beginning of this post are pretty well-known. You see it quoted in prefaces to books, inspirational memes, blog posts, etc.

    These days, whenever I listen to "Prime Mover" and I hear the words, "The point of the journey is not to arrive", it does remind me a little bit of our grand motorcycle trip. But not nearly as much as the next line that follows. The next line that almost nobody ever includes in their inspirational quotes and meme gifs:

    "Anything can happen."

    Oh, that sense of wonder and anticipation! The adventure and excitement of the unknown. Perhaps even a touch of nervous trepidation.

    *THAT* sums up our trip for me. Totally.

    When I hear that part, it feels like Neil wrote it for us. Those two lines together.

    -----------------------------------------------

    I've been on a Rush kick the last couple of days.

    I'm saddened to hear about Neil's passing.

    But I look around at the people that I love, the drum set sitting in the corner of the room, the motorcycle in the garage, and I'm joyous and thankful that he had the time to leave us with such a large legacy of music and words. It's permeated my life in such a personal way as to make me think that he was speaking directly to me.

    And I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

    RIP Neil.

    Thank you for providing me with the soundtrack for my life.

    IndiBiker, Sarang, Phrog and 42 others like this.
  18. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Nice Gene, yes Rush puts on quite the show....

    Even though the only girls there are Barbies under Neil's kit.:D
  19. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Well done Gene. A thoughtful tribute.
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  20. TheNetworker

    TheNetworker Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Moin Gene,

    nice thoughts and summarazation about life