Japan


After spending another night on the ferry we are eager to set foot on Japanese soil. We wave goodbye to Enrico he is free to go but Mit and us have to do customs. Japanese customs is complicated by the fact that you need a carnet to enter Japan but you also need to get your Carnet authenticated by the Japanese Automobile Federation the equivalent of our RAC, the problem is that their office is several hours away from the port in Toyama city. You cannot take the bike the only alternative is over three hours by train each way with various changes and then finding your way to the office where no one speaks english or employ the services of a customs shipping company to take you there. We were prepared to take the train the bike was left on the quayside and Roof (Kev) had instructions from an excellent website www2.gol.com run by Chris Lockwood on how to get to the JAF office, first we have to exit the ferry. Our entry is not graceful we have to collar a boarding lorry driver for a jump start as the bike never got a chance to charge in the run to customs at Vladivostok and battery is flat. We encounter a friendly Japanese shipping agent who speaks english whilst trying to work out which department we need, who for a fee will ferry us to the next town to the JAF offices where we will get the carnet authenicated and then guide us through the customs minefield. The fee is reasonable and we gladly accept his offer if only to be back before nightfall especially as it is a national holiday tomorrow. What a contrast to Russia all smiles and efficiency, coffee while we wait but it still takes all day and we finally finish 4pm, not good as it gets dark at 6pm and we still need money and some where to sleep. Finally let loose on Japanese soil we try for money, I walk into the ATM booth here I am faced with three machines which wouldn’t look out of place on the star ship Enterprise approaching one I am slightly daunted by the bewildering choice of phone handset, key pad, keyboard or voice activation I tentively try to push my card in one a voice emits from the machine and the card is spat out. I wait until someone comes to use the machines, he galently tries for me pushing buttons and yabbering to the remote voice but it seems this bank won’t accept our card. He suggests the post office is our best bet but it is now closed and will be tomorrow with the public holiday. We have a little changed up and head for a campsite in the hills, the weather seems also to be against us as it is now raining heavily and we have to dig our wet weather gear out. In the rapidly fading light after asking a few people we end up on the beach where it seems you can camp, by now it’s blowing a howling gale with the rain. I jump off to find a more sheltered spot which I locate a little way in behind the office, here we are very naughty and sneek the bike through the bollards to park it next to the tent so we can have power. We survive the night but it’s the same story in the morning and the surfers think it’s great, they are out in force being a holiday. As we can’t get any money today we sit tight till it eases about 1pm when we head for a walk along the now calm sea front and view our surroundings, the roads are so narrow I understand why the Japanese produce little cars. We spend a pleasant afternoon/evening on our beach front camp. The good weather doesn’t last and by nightfall another storm has blown in, this time we have company three Japanese lads are braving the weather in tents also. I am woken 2am by the tent bashing me in the face, the wind has picked up and being sand has pulled out a peg the others are threatening to follow suit. Roof pulls the short straw and heads out whilst I hold the pole upright, he tethers us to a tree and the the concrete building with para cord. We retire back to bed.
  1. #1 by Jane on October 5, 2010 - 8:45 am

    Great to catch up with you in a new country and what must seem like a totally different world. Hope you are still enjoying yourselves, keep safe. Jane x

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