Adventurer, Writer, Couch Potato.
Walking: Day 4
I awoke at around 6am but did not get out of bed until at least 7am. I did not sleep very well. I was woken up at 1am from someone trying to get into my hotel room. At first I thought I was dreaming but the banging on the door made me realise that something was wrong. I shot up out of bed and looked towards the door. I could see the movement of a shadow appearing underneath. As I crept closer the shadow disappeared and only light remained. I opened the door; the person was gone and the sounds of the lift doors were closing. I did not get back to sleep for some time after that.
I ended up leaving at around 8:30am. I had four to five days walk to the next large city of Tomakomai where I would be catching a ferry to the main Island. I headed south towards the beach and the train lines. My aim was to follow the train tracks all the way to Tomakomai. I followed the road parallel to the tracks until it ended around half an hour later. I then walked next to the tracks on the grass. After some time the grass turned into some kind of vine bush with thorns. I thought to myself “why the hell would they plant these here!” As I am writing this though I have come to realise it was most likely to stop people walking along the tracks. I found a concrete wall between the tracks and the beach. I crossed the tracks and jumped up.
I was walking on the ledge for maybe half an hour. Then that too ended so I climbed down and headed for a road nearby. I crossed the tracks and into a small farm and saw a man doing the gardening. It became clear to me that it was his backyard. I could only imagine what was going through his mind seeing some dude standing there. I imagine it was good though as he waived me to go through and out his front driveway onto the road. I continued on and saw a horse so I hung out with it for a little then had lunch.
After lunch I walked on. It was 1:30pm when I made it to where I had planned to stay that night. It was a park in what looked to be a primary school. There was a baseball field with kids playing on it, I sat and watched them play for a while. I was becoming a distraction for them so I left. The whole way was flat ground so I was making great time and decided to continue and see how far I could get.
The road was long and straight. At around 3:00pm I checked my map and saw that I was maybe an hour or two away from where I was going to stop for the next day. I went on. The weather turned and started to cool. I made it to the small town where I was to stay and needed to find a park of some kind. I walked another hour and found a baseball field. It was in the middle of apartment buildings and once everyone had left I looked for a place to put the tent up. I found a spot behind some bushes and got started. Not long after I looked up and saw a man and his dog about ten metres away staring at me. I stood up and said hello. He didn’t move, I thought maybe he did not hear me so I said hello again. There was no reaction. I decided to stare back. We must have been in a staring match for about 5 minutes until his dog saw something and they walked away. I clearly won.
It was freezing and the wind was picking up. I put most of my clothes on to keep me warm and tried to get some sleep.
Walking: Day 5
It was 4am. The sun had already risen and was shining through my tent on to my face. I was not going to get any more sleep. Or any sleep for that matter. As it was Saturday night there were a lot of people out and about and came to the park. They must have seen me but luckily they didn’t come and try and see who was inside. I was woken up every hour on the hour.
I left at 5am after packing all my gear. The cold night in the park brought back my cold I had been trying to get rid of since arriving in Japan. I felt pretty average and did not want to have to sleep in a tent again the next night with a cold. I told myself before setting off the day before that I wasn’t going to stay in a hotel until I made it to Tomakomai, so I was determined to make it there by the end of the day.
I had walked somewhere close to 30km the day before so I had less than 60km to go. I was determined and stupid enough to think I could walk that far in one day. Nothing eventful happened all morning. I was walking on the same road until 12pm when I stopped for a rest. I checked and found I had walked just over 25km. My feet were aching so I sat at a petrol station and took off my boots.
After my rest I kept my pace going and was very optimistic that I could make it. I was walking and walking and then something happened. Something in my stomach went weird and started to ache. I then realised that I had not eaten since lunch time the day before besides a cereal bar. I had lost my appetite and struggled when I tried to force anything down. My stomach grumbled and then I realised what I needed. I needed a toilet and fast. There was a small shop about 300 metres away. I was rushing to get in and didn’t see that the entrance door was low and the top of my pack hit it and knocked me backwards. After I recovered the two men inside were staring at me saying something. I asked for a toilet. They luckily understood what I meant because I did not want to have to act that out. They led me out the back of their shop, into their house and to the bathroom. I took my bag off and went inside and saw the most disappointing thing I could have possibly seen at that moment. A squat toilet. I knew that there was no way I could successfully navigate myself in that thing and my legs were too tired to hold me up. There was no time to try and figure out another way or go find another toilet so I just sat in the hole and did what I had to do and hope for the best.
Twenty minutes later I walked out and said thank you to the lovely guys that helped me and continued on. I felt terrible after that. I was shaking and sweating and felt dizzy. I put it down to exhaustion and a mixture of not eating and having a cold. I kept on going for maybe two or three hours until I just had to stop. I was spent. I was sick. I was an idiot for trying to walk that far in two days. I was somewhere between 15 to 20km away from Tomakomai.
As I was sitting on the footpath next to the road a nice old man came out and spoke to me. I could not understand a word he was saying but he was very interesting. He went inside a shop and came back with a cold bottle of sparkling lemon water and gave it to me. It was amazing! I eventually got myself up and asked someone if there was a bus headed for Tomakomai. He worked at a service station and got a friend of his to check. They pointed to the bus stop and told me it would be about 2 hours. I walked over, dropped my bag and sat staring at the ground until the bus arrived.
I got on the bus and made it Tomakomai. I walked to a hotel, checked in and went to bed. I pushed myself too hard too early and paid the price for it. On the plus side I had made excellent time and will not be walking that far in two days again. Lesson learned.
As I have made it here early it has given me time to recover and will be ready to set out again on the main island of Japan on Thursday. I woke up at 11am after an amazing sleep. I decided not to waste my time here and went down to the lobby. They had free bikes to hire so I got one and headed to the ferry port to buy a ticket to Sendai.
I got lost for maybe an hour but eventually made it to the ferry port and bought a ticket. Afterwards I met a cool dude. We were talking (well trying to anyway) and he mentioned that he had hitch hiked his way here from Okinawa about a year ago. That is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. I was amazed that he had been travelling by himself for so long. We parted ways and I headed back to the hotel. It started raining and the wind was against me now so it took me twice as long to get back.
Later on that evening I went out to get dinner. I found an Italian American restaurant. I ordered a Pizza. Five minutes later the waitress returned to let me know that the pizza I ordered was too big for one person to eat. My appetite had returned so I asked how big it was. When they told me it was 24cm I said to bring it out. It arrived. It was not cooked enough and was very oily but I demolished the entire thing and left the staff with a shocked look on their face and headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
Don’t forget that there is still time to donate to the Telethon Adventurers and any little amount can make a difference.
I have added another video of a little of what I encountered the past days of walking. Hope you enjoy it.