This butterfly loves Kellyn’s hand.

This butterfly loves Kellyn’s hand.

Under one of my favorite kinds of tree, a yew. Found this old one along the BDDGT. 

Under one of my favorite kinds of tree, a yew. Found this old one along the BDDGT

LCD Soundsystem - “Someone Great”

My dad’s “favorite and only Emily Dickinson poem”

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,— 
The simple news that Nature told, 
With tender majesty. 
Her message is committed 
To hands I cannot see; 
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

Check out a blog I will be working on

Kellyn and I will be posting when we can about our hike through Korea on the Baekdudaegan trail. We will hike for about 50 days through the mountains here.

Baekdudaejang

Izumisano, Nara, Osaka

Osaka and Izumisano

My trip bicycling through southern Japan was over. I stayed with some awesome friends, Don and Sara, in Izumisano, a suburban area south of Osaka. It was great to catch up with them, have some excellent conversations, and have a roof over my head. I did miss camping though.

My first night with my friends we headed to a rehearsal for a kimono fashion show they will participate in. I watched them try on kimonos at a traditional clothing boutique. Then we headed to the rehearsal venue where they strutted (more like a shuffle in a kimono) the stage and floor. I think the shows director seemed pleased and after about 45 minutes of practice we headed home.

I spent a bit of time sight seeing in Osaka but also went on two more short bicycle rides.

One afternoon I cruised around Izumisano. The sun was hot and the area was a bit monotonous and confusing to travel through. A couple sky scrapers in the neighborhood helped me orient myself. I checked out a great local grocery store Don had mentioned. They sold lots of produce and a few specialty products. It was expensive, but I bought some citrus and a few rice cakes for a snack. Then I sat at the gate of a modern looking temple and did some water coloring of the inside.

On a Saturday afternoon Don led me on his bicycle around the immediate area. We took a route along the sea that snaked through funky neighborhoods, fishing wharfs, and a few smelly factories. Eventually we reached a nice park with beaches about 30 kilometers from Wakayama. Don explained how an area near here is where most of the show dolphins used around the world are captured.

We sat, chatted, and snacked until the sun was hidden by a cloudy haze. The wind picked up and we decided to head back. We were just in time to ride through a strong, gusty, head wind for about 20 kilometers. The temperature seemed to have dropped five degrees Celsius too! By the time we met Sara back at their home in Izumisano we felt a bit miserable from the cold.

There were other highlights from my time around Osaka. Don and Sara introduced me to many of the great vegan restaurants in Osaka. I had a nice day trip to Nara to see the largest wooden temple (and possibly structure) in the world. I also hung out with the very docile deer which live in and around Nara. I fed them the special deer crackers that people sell all over that town.

I got to meet a cool friend of Don and Sara, Brian, a tattoo artist from Portland who was working for a few weeks in Osaka as a guest artist at a tattoo parlor. We all ate some great vegan food, visited the Osaka history museum, Osaka castle, and then an amazing sake bar. We tried a bunch of different kinds of sake for a reasonable price. It was all incredibly smooth and highly drinkable booze.

Overall, my time in Osaka was fantastic, and so enjoyable because of my friends there. I hope I can go back in the future. Bye bye for now Japan, until we meet again. Pictures will be up soon.