Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bye Japan!

70 days in Japan. 25 days cycling across it and 45 days working in Tokyo were more than enough, perhaps too much. Unlike that wonderful feeling of wanting to come back over and over again that countries like Mongolia or Indonesia left in me during this last year, the more time I spent in Japan the more I felt the need to leave. This by no means mean having had a bad time but mostly not having been able to achieve a deep connection with the country and its culture.

Japanese style extravangaza

During these 70 days in the most technologically developed country of the planet, we've seen many amazing things. At some level, after some time of being here, one feels that the Japanese are really beyond everything. Let me explain it. The reality of this country is so so different than that of the rest of the planet, especially the one in the third world, that at some point it almost feels like science fiction. The activities, the problems, the preoccupations that seem to occupy the mind of the Japanese are so radically different from those that me and the people around me lived with that I sometimes feel like I'm in Disneyland. Tokyo never stops and life happens at full speed. The famous crossing of Shibuya,, sees 100.000 people crossing it per hour during rush hour. With its squandering of light and yelling advertisements, it is the icon that sums up the frantic pace of life in Tokyo. In each of its corners, when the traffic light is green for the cars, people start accumulating like drops of rain in a water tank, when the traffic light turns red it bursts, and people run like ants going in every direction as when one steps on an anthill.

Friday, March 21, 2014

One year on the road

Highway to the future

 After leaving Kyoto, we finally entered the last stretch to Tokyo. It was a road in the future towards the future. We decided to cycle the 550 km along route 1, the road that connects some of the biggest industrial zones in Japan. We could've certainly chosen a quieter road along the countryside with a little bit more nature, but we had a commitment to be in Tokyo at a certain time and we hadn't neither many days left nor the will to continue much longer.

Japan is a cutting edge country, it seems to be a couple of years ahead from the other rich countries and light years ahead from the rest of the planet, but only technologically speaking. In terms of human touch it lags light years behind most of the economically poor countries, which one really starts yearning with every step on the pedal in this country. Respect, honesty and politeness are values that abound here, and that is very positive, but indifference and apathy also abound as well. With the exception of our friends in Osaka and that really unique man we had met in Fukuoka the first day, we haven't really had any true connection with any single person. We are pretty much two ignored human beings that pass mostly unnoticed riding along the roads of the future. It is fascinating and hideous at the same time.