It's 4.30am. The first cup of tea is just being made- I've for long waited
that it should get bright
enough to get up. A cat is walking in the street... No, it stops -it's a fox
rather bright in colour.
It's a little cold and indeed damp. I don't think it has been raining, but the
moist in the air is high.
A little sunshine now would do, but the sky is grey.
I take long to pack. By mistake I don't return to the main road but end in the
cycle track, which I
apparently could have followed longer. Fine but it end being blocked! Without
any major problems I
reach back on road 12 and follow it further on, but now there's no word about
Asahikawa. After consulting
my map, Nelles, which I trust the most, I mean to be on a northern round and I
go by one of the road to
the side in the direction in which the city must be. It's far. Finally I see a
sign with the "zhong"
character (in chinese). Think it means center and it seems to fit. (since then I've realized it means something completely different, as it's also found out in the country). But this time it works. Soon after it says Asahikawa Sta. 1 km. That's what I'm aiming at as experience tells that there'll be a tourist info or a travel center. In this case both. They open in 45 min.
It's 2.15pm and I'm heading at desserted areas. The traffic is less and the road
has only two lanes.
Asahikawa was a HUGE city. I saw 3 westeners in all, the first since Tokyo. The
station was the size
of that in Chengdu but with just 1/100 the people - maybe less. And the tourist
office had free wi-fi, so
I didn't have to search for Starbucks. Had some useful information even the girl
had to call for somebody
else as she didn't speak english herself. Now I think I'll go around east
Hokkaido and then take the train
f.ex. from Abashiri to Sapporo. There is a direct train so I don't have to
change. From Sapporo I'll go
on west/south-Hokkaido and in the end take a ferry over to Tohuko as the northern part of Honshu is called.
Again I was lucky with the rain. I was heading at a rain in the north, that
dragged away and drove
away from one to the south. Here the surface is still wet.
A new thunderstorm is coming on from behind. I thought I might reach Kamikawa,
but suddenly appear
a rescue. A big parking lot, a toilet building and a small house with 8 tables
each able to house 6
people. A kitchen sink in one end and some shelves and lockable cupboards.
Now I've been here for long I think I know what it is. There's also a golf
course. The small house
where the girl sits is the reception, and then people can go into the other
house whenever they feel
the need for lunch. For the moment it's just me and my bike. When I hinted if I
could, she nodded.
Beside that we could only say "Konnichiwa" - hello - to each other.
It had just started raining.
It started raining... and it kept on
Now it's really pouring and I'm sitting here dry with my bike and all. How lucky
can one be? It's gonna take
10 min's ago my telephone rang - again. An unknown - again. Hello, who's calling? It was the postmaster in the postoffice where I work. She must have been the only one there who didn't know I was in Japan. When I said I was the conversation had a quick end.
They're playing Chuck Berry over at the reception: Johnny B.Goode, that really
something for an old
rocker as I, now I haven't listened to music for a long time. Afterwards it's
Led Zeppelin, something
with: "lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely..... Anyone knows the title?
We were safe and dry - my bike and I
Now I've been here for one and a half hours, one rain and thunder came after the
her. It's 5pm and it's getting darker and there's 22 km to a town, where there
MIGHT be a hotel. It doesn't look good.
Just as I'm thinking this the girl from the reception comes running with a note:
"I close it at here
six pm." I tell with gestures that I need somewhere to sleep for the night. She
thinks for a moment.
I have to follow her. To the last building, which is also a toilet building.
There's a stair up, what's
up there I don't know, but she "asks" if I can sleep there? It's fine! Hai - yes! So I don't have to put up the tent, that would get wet. But I have to be off before 8 in the morning! Hai, hai - I will. That was touching. I'm saved - once more.