Home > Pre-Japan > Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I had a hot date with the road today! My friend Kate finally got her butt off the floor and decided to tag along (or maybe she just got her vandalized bike back a few days ago, but I like the first reason better) and we cycled the length of the cycling road from Nakatsu all the way to a place called Core Yamakuni, where there is an ice skating rink. We met at 10:40 at Kate’s house, conveniently located right along the bike path, and we headed out from there.

I was feeling pretty sluggish in the early going, not having been able to get a ton of sleep last night. I ended up reading until 3am ’till I felt tired enough to sleep. Had I been alone I might have just gone an hour or so and turned back, but since there was someone else there I felt enough pressure, and there was enough companionship, to get me through the whole trek. It was fairly nippy out today, nothing too serious but you really felt it once you stopped for a bit and all the sweat on your body got a chance to soak into your skin a bit. We still made good progress though, stopping only a few times to take pictures, and we made it to Core Yamakuni, approximately 35km out, by about 12:50. We had lunch at the cafeteria near the ice rink, and I was instantly recognized by the gaggle of students who had made the trek themselves (by car of course) along with their parents. I naively assumed that, 35km out, I would be far enough away from my schools to not be recognized, but it was not to be. Not that I mind necessarily, I am just surprised that my kids are so far away. Then again, this is the only place in the area to go ice skating. When Kate left to go to the bathroom, I was pelted with questions about my “girlfriend,” but I handily explained to them that she was just a friend. I am not sure if they bought it, but we will see! When I told my students we had biked here, they were in disbelief. “Don’t you mean you came by car?!” one child asked. “Nope, bicycle!” I responded, making the universal movement for bicycle. This involves putting your hands up near your eyes clutching an imaginary handlebar, and swirling them around so that they also look like wheels.

Having allowed our sweat to congeal nicely onto our bodies and feeling a bit of a chill, we headed back to Nakatsu around 1:30. The ride back was actually quite a bit better. Towards the end of the first leg I was really feeling it in my legs, and the kilometers really dragged on. On the way back, perhaps because I knew we were going “home,” I did not have so much of a problem. We stopped a few more times to take pictures, a number of which you can see following this post. We arrived home around 4:10, at which time I promptly took a nice hot bath. Apart from a few aches here and there I am feeling surprisingly good after going 70km, which has me hopeful that the upcoming 3 day 300km bike ride will not give me too much trouble. I am considering getting a new bike, because it’s quite a struggle even on this 17″ frame to get up hills. My legs don’t extend much, meaning I don’t get a ton of push when going up mountains. I am sure I can do it on this bike, but it would be much more comfortable on a bigger one. Stay tuned to see updates on that situation.

So all in all, probably one of the best Valentine’s Days I’ve had! Perhaps it was romantically lacking, but I never really cared about that aspect of Valentine’s Day anyway, so I’m not too bothered! Please enjoy the following pictures, there are a few absolute gems!

Our first photo break was at (according to Kate) the bridge with the most stone arches in Japan. Quite the achievement. There are 8, in case you were wondering.

A nice little red shrine on the way.

You don’t see these brown shingled roofs very often, they look quite nice.

Just getting a little artsy 🙂

They certainly don’t mince words! Stick sugar, coffee white! No mistaking what’s in the packages here.

Proof that we made it to Core Yamakuni.

It goes on for another 30km!


I must admit, I did not notice the symbol on the right until after I took the picture, because its color had faded until the flash brought it out. Not to worry, it’s not a swastika. Well, it is, but that’s not what it means. It’s either a construction symbol, or what they use to signify shrines here.

Beautiful rock face. This is where a monk, repenting for killing a man in his youth, carved by hand a tunnel through the mountain.

He spent the rest of his life completing this tunnel, it’s absurdly impressive.

There he is, chiseling away.

I have no idea what’s going on here. We saw them before they burned them on the way there, and on the way back they were ablaze! Must be some kind of tradition, but all we know is there’s enough smoke to signal all the world’s Indians.

Cough, Cough

Smoke trail.

Down it goes!


In case you were confused somehow…

Nothing like sexy green women to sell booze and sigs!

So that was my trip! I had a blast, and we’re doing it again next week, and each weekend in fact, until the big ride, to get in shape.


Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. dotbearman
    February 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    amazing photos and sounds like a very strenuous workout… love foufou

  2. dotbearman
    February 14, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    sounds very strenuos but also fun and challenging… you can eat more after a trip like that….we miss you and love you….foufou and Syd……

  3. dotbearman
    March 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    what a journey you are having…. are you actuallly working??? Peri just left LaJOLLA yesterday with Elsie after a week’s visit ….much appreciated…. stay warm and happy….love from us both…..foufou and Syd..

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