Saturday, September 22, 2007

27+ Mile round trip bicycle ride from home to Isawa.

I seem to be reaching every goal I set when it comes to riding my bike. First time out it was only about two-three miles, next week five miles, last week eight miles, and this time I spanked my most recent records with a whopping ~30 mile ride. You may wonder why one would be so possessed as to ride so far in the middle of Japan's humid summer; for adventure I say. OK, maybe it wasn't pure adventure but its a good way to kill a day and keep boredom at bay.

Before I get into my long bike rides details, I should share a little bit about how the teacher's party went a couple of nights ago. First we met at a small pub where we were served endless rounds of beer and sashimi (finely sliced raw fish that's kind of like sushi) which I had no problem abusing as much as I could since I did pay for it after all. During the dinner some speeches were given by other faculty on how the school festival went and such, and then they asked me to do a speech too. This is the fourth time I've been thrown into a speech unprepared since I started working at their school. I did a pretty good job because every body was really impressed at what I said and how good my Japanese was. I thought the speech was crap but I'm probably a little too critical of my own skill. Either way, I think I got even more brownie points with the principal and staff, which is good for my longevity at Midai JHS. Another good thing that happened was that one of the female English teachers seemed to take a liking to me that I didn't expect. Its been a long time since a woman fed me food via chopstick and boy was it a good feeling. Maybe I can use that experience as leverage toward a closer relationship beyond teachers and maybe friends... Who knows. All I do know is that she'd make a pretty fun friend.

After the dinner/drinking party we went onto round two at the local bowling alley/karaoke house. I sucked majorly at bowling since I had maybe one too many to drink that night but I tore up the karaoke mic with some of my favorite songs. The party broke up around 1am which was good enough for me because I don't like staying up late anymore. All in all the party was good fun and I look forward to the next one which should come up in another couple of months.

Now back to this entry's original topic, around 11am, I set out with my trusty water backpack and super awesome cellphone/mp3 player in hand, for Don Quixote which is about 10 miles away from me. Within thirty minutes of riding I'm pretty far into civilization and can feel my country isolation complex peacefully drift away. Leaving the clutches of tractors and rice paddies for a more urban setting is my kind of day.

Along the way I stopped at a department store called Gran Park where I stopped at Mc. Donald's for a 200 yen Big-Mac and a tiny coke. I don't think I've ever seen or tasted a Big-Mac of such quality before; I'd swear I was eating the prop from the commercials and not the real flattened mass produced one we usually get. After my small lunch I went upstairs to the video arcade where I blew 400 yen on Initial D 4th stage. After I felt refreshed and cooled down I decided to continue my long journey.

The time passed relatively quick as I rode down route 20 with my headphones on (well just one because I want to hear cars and other things coming up on me). Before I knew it, I made it to Isawa where Don Quixote is located. This particular Don Quixote had an Arabian theme which was pretty neat. Inside was nice and cool thanks to God's blessing to all mankind, air conditioning. I think its the air conditioning that keeps riding out so far bearable. If I get too tired or hot I just stop in a convenience store or a shop and leech off their ac for a bit.

Don Quixote is a flea-market style, jack of all trades store. It has a mish-mash of things from food to clothes and adult toys... I ended up buying two cheap t-shirts for about 700 yen each and a neat trucker hat for 400 yen, which isn't bad at all. After I had my fill of girl oggleing and window shopping I decided it was about time to head back. It had taken me about three hours to make it out that far with all my stops and side trips, so I wanted to beat sunset if possible.

On the way home I stopped by another shop and found some really nice glasses. They remind me of something my friend Heinrich would wear. I think they look decent on me and more Japanese-ish. Eventually I'll blend into my surroundings again just like last time.

When I got home, I found that I had gone through about four liters of water, two there and two back. My water backpack is pretty handy and keeps anything else I need to carry along sweat free and safe. My shirt is drenched in sweat from just where my backpack sat on my shoulders and small of my back. I think my body has finally gotten used to the punishment I've been giving it on a weekly basis. Despite gaining about a pound since I got here, I feel better than I did before I left for Japan. Last time I was in Japan I lost pounds like crazy and looked kind of bad by December. This year I want to loose maybe five pounds if possible because I really don't like my mini beer gut. Hopefully the bike riding will help this out.

So that's about it for my long ride out to Don Quixote today. I might go out again tomorrow if the weather is still as good as today was. Here is a full picture for my mom to prove to her I am not dieing and haven't changed much. At least I don't think I've changed much but maybe I'm wrong...


  1. there is an executive order for pics. you must fulfill... jk.. the festival looks like alot of fun. keep up the good work and the good entertainment.

  2. Well Scott, I think you look quite alive and the only real change seems to be that you are getting back into shape.