After cleaning up and looking for a good movie, ( only a dreadful couple of porn films available for some reason? ) Chewy luxuriates in the bath for ages and then I jump in just as the phone goes Shaun and Huw have arrived for beers and the game. I get a massive spasm in my left leg. G being Geraint Thomas the Welshman who won last years Tour De France, rode his first tour for Sky with a fractured pelvis and won the Commonwealth Games despite a puncture in the closing mile. This is pure bliss although our posteriors are craving the tissue thick mattress we suffered the other night to sooth our buttocks. I’ve no idea what happened to the other chap who was telling us how he was intending to go to Seoul next. This tournament is not for the travelling fans. Today’s look great two inches of butter soaked bread with the cream on the side. What we get is more mud and debris and another set of restricting RSJs. It’s hammering down all night so when we receive an invitation for a cuppa from Rob and Cath we jump at the chance. We won’t repeat last nights mistakes, so dump the bags and head off for something to eat. The clouds are low which is a surprise after last nights gale force winds but the temperature is nicely warm. The wrong train leaves and soon the right train arrives. A walrus in a South African shirt approaches me, “Close game man” Can you will it now? However it was now that I discovered water has got into my bag with the electronics, They will have to be double bagged in future. It’s not a long ride today so we make the most of a detour from the direct route towards the coast. A wasted opportunity. An icon used to represent a menu that can be toggled by interacting with this icon. Something Chewy has said has been eating away at me for a while. The undulating road takes us down towards a large shopping centre with a food court. Just as four old chaps are walking by. It’s been a long day with rising heat and humidity. You hardly know you’ve moved, not until the view hits you. Two lads both Welsh, both retired cops from Dyfed Powys. Around fifteen feet long and ten foot wide, tiled with small grey tiles along the bottom and sides a permanent cascade of hot water is flowing into the bath. My blood leaking from right arm tricep and right leg. When aren’t they in school. We get the look when we explain why two Surley Ogres are hanging from the back of our camper van. Where are we staying in Narita and Osaka and Busan? There’s a fast current on the far side but nothing that’s dangerous. Too many homophobic idiots, too much of the stiff upper lip. A ride around the block finds a bike shop but the mechanic looks as though he will have a heart attack rather than look at disk brakes. We pop to a local supermarket for tonight’s dinner ingredients starting with sushi which Chewy has found she is enjoying especially when it has soy sauce but never with ginger and absolutely never with wasabi. Neither let us down. Chewy is able to sit down on the metro the bikes in front of her and I remain standing for the duration of the journey to hell, aka Tokyo station. Reduced, is the answer to the question your asking, that’s why we got them. A cracking view of all which will unfold. We depart from Aso having failed to be wowed well that is until we have climbed out of there up a huge hill and looked back into the bowl it sits in. As usual having a pee is a major wait in a marshalled queue. This is the least amount of time we’ve spent at a certification centre as we are off as the dusk is now becoming darkness. The days are spent apart after we get together following the visit to the toilets but the evenings usually end with chairs in a circle and a serious consumption of wine beer and one night saki which Shaun kindly provided. Now accommodation, now we need WiFi again. Again we creep forward just as another vehicle comes towards us, we manage to get through and leave them to enjoy the heart pumping drive. There is even a lady Sandy from LA who has flown in to see both gigs in Tokyo! … The first attempt finds us in the city close to our chosen destination, with a bit of WiFi we make it into the mountains but try as we might we just can not find the large overnight car park with toilets. Now we have to wait to see who will win over England and France to see who will be our next opponents. On we press past the tents being packed away after the latest triathlon, the path unchanging concrete leads us on towards our destination but not before loud cry causes me to stop at a car park where a couple of vultures and an eagle are in a large thatched cage, it’s certainly not an aviary. The plume from the eruptions is ominous from the worlds most active volcano ( do the people of Sicily know this?) It’s wonderful and represents the volcanos eruptions. We can see them walking across the girders. Some toilets, the disabled ones being the least stinky and a large communal area. It will entail crossing a public road and with little in the way of options I jump into the driving seat and get us out of Dodge. And just like the summer time ride the huge grins are lost when we face a crazy hurdle. It’s a brilliant result for the hosts and a dreadful defeat for the Irish at that point ranked number one in the world. We pass the stadium to get to the park and ride a vast cultural hall complex with huge car parks open for the day to transport the rugby fans to the game. Then with no one else around I was able to have a full wash at the sink and a shave, only to return to the van with my towel wrapped around me and my black jacket on. Two and a half hours to kill and no WiFi. The further out we go the more spectacular the sky becomes. A slow walk to the hotel where the funniest receptionist runs through the does and donts before we finally get to the spacious room complete with Chewys favourite, a bath. I’m starting to have a love affair with this green paste. Just wash up the ceramics it’s easy and cheaper! The next certification centre is a girl holding on to a huge swimming dolphin. I’m also having to get up to pee, twice in a night is a rarity but tonight is four times. We dropped off the lads and returned to our spot making dinner and enjoying a bottle of wine. 2,3,4,5 am there is always someone male or female running around the footpath. It’s seriously depressing . Chicken and beer is the best we can find and that’s all we need before we return to the hotel under all the illuminations. We get dinner and wine and beer and have lunch at a “French” bakers. It was actually some of the route we took yesterday to get to the hotel. Sod all for Wales or Australia! I’ve no trouble with anyone vocally supporting their team, I relish it, but after Allez Lez Blue to have a load of effing and jeffing I can do without. Not too bad is the answer. There’s a mitchie an hour or so away from Japan Campers and that’s where we will go tomorrow but for now we will make for the stop in the north. So we have a drink at Starbucks, confirm the location and I go for a walk to discover it’s on the 6th floor accessible only through two glass doors and an elevator. We stand on the platform relaxing now we have arrived. These are usually marked on approach, such as 7% for 100m. So much better than Hiroshima’s sentimentality it’s all the fault of the Americans narrative. The day is spent driving to Hiroshima to a camping ground in fact however when we arrive at the crest of the mountain, miles from the city we find locals collecting wood for an ongoing fire in the woods. As the time for disembarking gets closer we bid find farewells to the lovely Holly and George as they prepare to make their way north west. The lad serving is a desperate to try his English and we have a laugh with him and my limited Japanese nevertheless the food is just what we want and very tasty. Almost each and everyone is a factory and usually involving steel or aluminium. The sculptures of a crab bigger than both the boat sent to catch it and the crew is impressive.By the time we are at the penultimate centre, cramp is kicking in in my thigh. There’s been a couple of Bond films on the tv too so the evening has been very relaxing indeed. Look aghast at the two bikes and shout at each other and talk loudly to us. Breakfast is between seven and eight fifteen. Jets, really powerful jets of water from heads ten feet high. We get rolling again with staggeringly beautiful views of the landscape around the river valley. Planted in June each year this field will keep the family in rice for a while. Well that was delicious and very filling. It’s all stop start in the city and slow hot miserable progress until at a junction Chewy crosses the traffic and puts us at the start of the route. After that we continue along the road with the river on our right hand side. There’s a posh supermarket on our right and we call in and collect a load of food and drink before carrying on to the hotel where we know they don’t have anywhere for our bikes. That done we return to our vans and drive back toward where we were parked but it appears everything is taken. It’s not a sandy beach it’s guarding but rocky outcrops. The cloud over the city, mixing with the rising vehicle pollution holds it in a low grey brown hold, yet only half a mile out there is a massive change in the sky. Everything is just so unnecessary because the bikes are bagged, another lift and then onto the final train. it’s spitting a bit so we are in no rush. all be refineries and storage tanks next to scrap metal depots and sewage farms but we will be getting closer. The ride now has an urgency which was not there previously as we were making good time. Now if I recall correctly the last time we spoke, well, let me tell you all about it we’d washed our clothes and remained in the hotel until midday then rode off back to town to collect the van from Japan Campers. Allied to the street lights we are doing ok if just the pedestrians would pay attention and listen to what’s going on around them or even react to the information before their eyes such as oh I dont know a cyclist coming towards them perhaps it would be better to step out of the way from the cycle path which they are walking over rather than the footpath or rather than continue to walk towards the oncoming cycle. When we finally reach the end we can see that the cycle path was actually clear after the blockage, a discovery which does no end to lighten the mood. Stand on the right leg pain screaming through every centimetre of flesh, get my left leg over the frame, relax on the left leg. So with travelling tales told and an excellent breakfast provided and scoffed thanks to Cath we made tracks to a nearby onsen where for an hour we relaxed in the hot waters and even enjoyed the rain on the rooftop pools. Salami sarnies for the journey are made and with sufficient energy drink in our bladders we are set for the morning. Ok I may have been at fault by riding the bike into reception. Black Cat is a little like Hermes in the UK but actually reliable. Bacon and egg fried rice for lunch, we had bacon for breakfast and if I’m totally honest as the chef it was disappointing verging on rubbish. Two RSJs sunk into the tarmac as width restrictions. It’s drizzling and the. A road station is recommended and we arrive but the look on our faces is mirrored. We cut left and after some relaxed navigation, find the hotel, where we have the bikes with us in our room. There are regular information posts on the telegraph poles and lampposts showing how high against sea level we are, there are also escape routes shown taking you up to 165m high. A chap is playing his saxophone under a bridge to the accompaniment of a band playing on his car stereo. Above the road is an area which we think is a charcoal kiln although it’s blocked off we have a look and that’s what it appears to be. Not only a place to sleep but also a huge supermarket, a laundrette and joy of joys an onsen! Bikes collected we are off through the familiar streets and road we have ridden once before. The reason for this is we are just weary travellers. One says it’s up the stairs along here, but we find no stairs another just says ticket no good and smiles. Several tall buildings rise above the rest one of them, must be our hotel. A couple ask me to take their photograph which I do with pleasure adding me as a selfie at the end. From no where we are joined by cyclists, tandem riders and generally young people, hilariously in the most inappropriate clothing ( white jeans and top, with now a huge brown stain running from bum to neck from the water picked up from wet roads and deposited along the woman’s rear. First off it’s up in the lift to the main concourse. Into which Chewys replacement dinner is placed for the short walk back to the hotel. The biggest suspension bridge in the world is seen relatively soon. We unpack the bikes they don’t need to be bagged now. No fines and nothing wrong with the van, phew! “I know” she replied, “so dark, never gone through that before, so just peddled harder to get through”. I was expecting far more time at sea. Some of the hits are rather brutal and after the epic against Australia the pain must be building up in the players. It cause an issue ? The performance isn’t good but the resolve remains. Outside could be anywhere, the glass fronted skyscrapers dwarfing the old red brick Tokyo Station. And they say Americans don’t get irony! Certification centre in 4 k, ok we can live with that, we can do that. Get the Top 5 List on one of the pins below. Of all the journeys we have taken recently this has to be the roughest by a country mile. As we near base there’s a lot of chatter in the distance under a pagoda. We turn right at the lights and keep on climbing anyway. There is a market selling fish raw and cooked, spices and herbs shoes and clothes. We’ve sporadically been in touch since then and hoped to bump into each other but the look on his face when I called out”Daz” was a picture. A gateway with illustrations of a female child ( minus the nose of course) on the left hand side and a boy on the right. 0900 and we are going down in the lift. This has happened to us over and over again on this trip. We have a home made ramen meal for dinner, the bin is overflowing when we finish. Tomorrow we sleep in the van! Tous les décès depuis 1970, évolution de l'espérance de vie en France, par département, commune, prénom et nom de famille ! We dump the bagged bikes and make our way to the free onsen, what a great treat a friend onsen. The bikes are stored in our room and we have thin mattresses on the floor, its as cheap as chips but it’s all good. Ah well at least we get to use the toilets. There are a number of memorials in the park outside the museum one to Koreans of course, however the most staggering one for me is the remnants of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Next a waterfall massage. If I look as gutted as Huw then I’m reflecting the feeling of the true fans, this is like a death in the family. An older chap assists the inflation and recognising the illustrated dancing girls on the growing advertising laughs and looks to his colleagues as he grabs his crotch. Considering they had a blank page to start with Hiroshima is the same as all the other cities in Japan. Thankfully we meet a lovely couple of recently retired teachers. The Organic B & B was just a b unless you count my leaking body for the other b of course. Japan drives on the left so that’s a bonus. 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