The weather is the only thing in Japan that doesn't run on schedule. It was supposed to rain the whole day today according to the weather report, but so far it hasn't rained yet and the sun even shone for 5 whole minutes this morning. The rest of the time it was dark and cloudy though.
There was a tunnel near here which cut right through the mountain. Unfortunately bicycles weren't allowed to go through the tunnel, and instead had to cycle around the mountain instead...
On occasion I try to be polite and take the sidewalk instead of the main road. I only do this if the road is very narrow or if I'm on a very steep uphill and my speed is very slow, which was the case in the picture above. Of course, when the sidewalk started there was no guard rail, and the path only narrowed after a corner so I couldn't see where the path went. This is another perfect example of the golden rule of bicycle touring: never EVER give up your place on the road. If you try to let a car or truck pass by going on the sidewalk you will never get back on the main road. Trucks will not let you back on or there will suddenly be a guardrail or a height difference between sidewalk and road, forcing you to ride the extremely bumpy and narrow sidewalk for a long time before your next chance of returning to the road. Cycling on the sidewalk tires out my arms twice as fast as cycling on the road, and I'm sure it's more than twice as hard on the tires because of all the bumps. It's just not worth it.
Recently I've been seeing a lot of 'checkpoints' on the roads, where cars and trucks are forced to drive slowly between some pylons. After that usually the trucks are stopped at the side of the road and being cleaned. Disinfected I guess. I found out today why: there is foot and mouth disease in Miyazaki prefecture, which is where I was yesterday. They're trying to contain the outbreak by cleaning every truck that goes in and out the area. It seems pretty serious..
In other news, my gears have magically fixed themselves. Upshifting is nearly back to normal now. Very nice.
Today is gloomy-ish, so I think I'll stop early today. I'm not in a hurry any more, but I'll tell you about that later.