I just came across this page (in Dutch), about a Dutch guy who cycled from the Netherlands all the way to Tokyo, and then to Kyushu, which is where I'm going. He went all the way through Russia in seemingly incredible circumstances, and the photos on his website are amazing. This person left Japan on October 24 2005, exactly 5 days before I arrived in Japan. That's a beautiful coincidence.
Reading his travel report motivates me a lot. I've been worrying about rain and climbing up to 1km on the way to Fuji, but if you travel through Russia for months on end those things are a common occurrence. If I stay in safe little Japan I don't have to worry about road quality, finding food or possible encounters with thieves or other criminals.
If I leave now I think I can be in Kyushu two months later. That's my rough guess though, I haven't actually measured anything. I think it's quite possible that I can reach there considerably sooner. After reading this interesting travel report I am now also considering the possibility of going back to Holland by bicycle. If I can make it in time before temperature's drop, that is.
I've been giving this trip a lot of purpose in my mind, putting pressure on myself to decide if I want to stay in Japan for the rest of my life or not. I give myself two months to decide. If I find an answer, I follow up on it by either taking a plane back to Holland or by cycling back to Tokyo and finding a job. Or, if I can't decide after 2 months, continue cycling. Maybe that's not the right way. Maybe it's better to continue the trip even after I decide what to do with my life. Even if I decide to stay in Japan, 1 or 2 years of break time won't really matter. It's time to start thinking on the long term.
These are just some thoughts swirling through my head just before the start of my trip. It's somehow refreshing to see that what will be the greatest adventure of my life is just a very small part of someone else's journey. Now I want more :D
Trip preparations are good: luggage problem solved, thanks to my Japanese buddy who allowed me to park my suitcase and boxes in his room while I go around doing crazy stuff. My room is almost empty, and it'll take me about half a day to clean up the remainder. Bicycle bags are packed and ready to go. The weather is still fluctuating, being just about perfect at 15-20C two days ago, now cloudy again at 9C and too cold for my taste. The constantly changing weather is making me angry but I have no-one to be angry at. Looks like the rain will continue next week as well, but I'm tired of waiting. I want to leave next Wednesday, and the only thing that can stop me is heavy rain.