Monday, July 9, 2018

Tokyo to Vancouver

The "Cocoon" building, from the 45th Floor of the Tokyo government municipal building.We began our three days traveling as "tourists" with a view of Tokyo from the top.
Sampson captures some angles inside the Tokyo Forum convention centre.
The "Hello Kitty" display at the Tokyo Tower gift shops are the place-to-go when in Japan!
Night lights in Sujuko. We met our friend Adam for an evening meal at an Izakaya, the Japanese version of an Irish pub/Spanish tapas bar.  Adam has lived in Japan for a bit of time and teaches English in Tokyo.  It adds so much to a big-city experience to have local knowledge and to go out with friends - how lucky we were to be in Tokyo with both!
Rick cooked the fish, Joan made the salad, another delicious meal with great people.  Joan and Rich took the role of a major support team during our time in the Tokyo area.
Good-bye Japan. China Airlines flew us through Beijing to Vancouver.  Unfortunately, an abrasive female security officer confiscated our lithium battery (used to re-charge the computers), it's a good thing school is out!
Sampson and Markos hula the hoops at a car-free fair on Commercial Drive, Vancouver.  We take a day off the bikes to acclimate to the new time zone (14 hours difference from Tokyo) and have a bit of fun!
Tokyo to Vancouver
What a whirlwind. And a good one.  We spent 3 days in Tokyo as tourists.  We took on the town with daypacks and ideas AND ended up with three fantastic reunions with friends new and old –what a setting.  The lights, the sights – we conquered the challenge of the megacity with style and had an incredible experience.  From finding an affordable hostel close to a neighbourhood veggie and dry goods market to having great consensus and harmony between the five of us, making a strategic plan for each "tourist" day.  And then, our exit, a 70 km ride through the city to get to the airport.  Surprisingly it proved to be smooth and doable…a civilized affair compared to the entry/exit from Phnom Pehn, Cambodia and Hanoi, Vietnam.

A short list of “Japan” for the McFerrins:
-“onagiri” rice/seaweed treats for a daily snack, “squid snacks” and little dried, salty minnows for a pre-dinner appetiser, additionally we will remember Rick’s skills at making popcorn with our camp kitchen
-the heaven/spa experience of finding an “onsen” on rainy days
-urban camping and the cheery interest of Japanese park walkers
-forest descents along rushing waterways, unexpected mountain bike “roads” and hidden shrines below towering trees
-cleanliness, order and kindness

We have arrived back on the North American continent; door-to-door…. 51 hours straight of biking-flying-biking.  Wonderful Warm Showers hosts at both ends.  Walking the aisles of Canadian Tire to find a new helmet for Tarn and shopping at Canadian Super Store for groceries was full immersion into the extreme array of products available at the fingertips of North Americans.  All the “stuff” that my simple life for the past year has been void of.  It’s nice to have the option to find whatever you need in one store but wow, the vastness of product is something to fathom.  We look forward to the remaining days of our simple life ahead as we cycle back to Calgary.

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