Earthquake again…

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 19:42 JST
TOKYO: A powerful earthquake rocked northeastern Japan on Monday, causing blackouts and forcing authorities to temporarily shut down highways, railways and even Tokyo’s main airport, more than 400 kilometers away. Eight people were reported injured.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered 64 kms below the sea floor off the coast of northeastern Miyagi prefecture, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

Source: Read more at Japan Today

Shirakawa Go Bike Trip

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09:30: We started our trip from Azabu-Juban (as usual, in front of Pierre’s flat) after a quick coffee. Obsiously, we are not following the japanese way of touring, waking up at 6am. After joining Sylvain around Shinjuku, the first challenge was to find the Chuo Expressway entrance. Anybody has an idea if there is a real entrance to the Chuo?? After looking around for 30 min, asking the police, we could not find any. We guessed the only way to reach it is through the Shuto, and it’s another trick to have the drivers to pay the 700 Yens to enter the Shuto.

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Takayama is at around 300 kms from Tokyo, we had quite a long time to re-think our lifes on the way. By the way, I could reach for the first time 180km/h for the record. Pierre was testing his brand new Fazer 1000 on a long trip, and I guess Sylvain customized his engine to release that much power with his old CB400. So finally, after a few stops and the horrible route 158 full a tourist bus, we reached Takayama for another 100 kms to arrive to Shirakawa-Go. It was not the first time for me to visit this authentic village (Takayama & Shirakawa-Go during winter). We enjoyed a lot the kanja ryokan where we stayed for one night.

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Next day was a little bit of sightseeing. As you can see on the pictures, weather was quite nice. Shirakawa-Go is a popular place for photographers, we were part of them. Have a look at the gallery of pictures below. Far from being professional of course….. Sightseeing is nice but, now is time for some pro-biking through the montain roads. We joined Iku chan (Miss VMAX) and Satomi chan, for part of our way back to Matsumoto, through the highly recommeded Route 87. Have a look at the view we got sometime from the top of the montains, kind of lost. At that time, I realised how nice it is to escape from Tokyo from time to time. The way back from Matsumoto was not that fun with the usual Traffic Jam entering Tokyo (17kms without any reasons…). The first touring expedition of this year was fun. Looking forward to leave again for the countryside…



Over 800 kms

We are just back from Shirakawa-Go. I’m so tired, I can’t hardly type anything on my keyboard. The region of Takayama is great for biking and not so crowded. I would say it was pro-biking this time, and will dream of montain curves this night. I’ll post the pictures later on, probably tomorrow. ‘night.

Bike Trip this week end

kanja_outside.jpgHere we go… Weather is getting cool enough to hit the road. First bike touring this year, we decided (with Pierre and Sylvain) to spend the week end in Gifu Ken around Takayama and Shirakawa-go. We will most probably spend the night in Shirakawa-go in one of the typical ryokan. Actually we already reserved the one named Kanja (cf picture). Hope everything will be fine with the bikes….

Links:
Search for Japanese Inns (in English)
Info on Shirakawa-Go and list of ryokan

Rafting with Santa Belgica (May 10th & 11th)

Raft1.JPGWeek end with Santa Belgica, in Gunma Ken, around Minakami… As usual, week end was perfectly organized by Bernard and Jan. The Montain Bike and Rafting week end is one of the activity I enjoyed the most 2 years ago, and I was quite excited to experience it once more. First day was the Montain Bike trip, unfortunatly too much japanized. The trip was a bit too short, and the instructor was spending his time showing how to turn right and left and so on … We enjoyed the short moments anyway. The next day, Rafting was just great, much better than 2 years ago. The trip was long and a bit risky ( remenber we almost die, falling in the 6degrees water, when we flipped the raft.;-)).

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If you happen to go there, don’t miss the rafting of course, but also a really nice (probably the best I went to) onsen: Takaragawa Onsen. It’s a mixte one, composed of 2 parts splited by the river. Like other people here, I am sure I could spend the whole day there, admiring the flow of the river and the surronding montains. Also, It’s the first time I could touch and play with baby bears.