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Jun. 30th, '06: For the time being, my access may not be on a regular basis..., however, I'm back here! :D.
# by whitebleach | 2007-12-31 23:59
Solo-touring to Korea (3)
It was almost 10a.m. when I left my friends in Osaka with many thanks to them.
I had to complete another 600km leg by 15:30, as the procedure for immigration & customs should be cleared at the ferry terminal at Shimonoseki.
I decided to take highways from Kobe to Shimonoseki and made my lovely iron mule keep hustling, not knowing it would result in a trouble on its engine later....;;

I arrived at the terminal in time. The officials were very kind and helped me a lot.
They were curious about my route & destination, to Seoul on my own motorcycle. In this town, the base port to Korea since before the war, vehicles and passengers to Korea on business are quite common, but their destination are limited almost in Pusan itself. And as it had been just half a year or more since the Korean government allowed travelers to bring motorcycles and ride them there, riders to Korea seemed still rare. Actually, later I found that mine was the only bike to Korea on the vessel.

b0044345_22234182.jpgI cleared the customs check on my motorcycle and belongings, and I drove my bike on to the deck in the ferry for Pusan.
My mule got tied down tightly to the floor. The reality gradually came up in my mind that I'm going to cross the sea...(*^_^*)

After some walk and shopping around the terminal, time was up for immigration.
The procedure was as simple as in the case of air travel, and I took some rest in my cabin.

b0044345_2225328.jpgI occupied a 1st class cabin for 2 only by myself.^^
It was like a room en-suite in a common business hotels, equipped with private shower, sink & toilette, writing desk & chair, stool, wardrobe, TV sets, tea sets, and so on.
Downstairs was the 2nd class floor, with large rooms shared with 15 to 30 passengers sleep with mats & blankets. As usual, people on the floor were more natural & friendly. On the outer deck on the floor, some of them began carouse here and there in groups. No matter how their bodies and hearts were heated up with Korean rice spirits, it was a breezing & freezing winter night on the sea!! @_@

After en-suite shower and some dinner in the restaurant, I watched the unlimited darkness on the sea, standing still on the deck.
When my eyes get used to the darkness, I found something white near the surface.
Flying fish? No..., seagulls!
They were flying, kept and kept flying against the wind, just upon the surface, skillfully avoiding the peak of the waves and splash, steadily kept up with our vessel.
Why? Why won't they get aboard somewhere on the mast or...?
Is it their pride of wilderness? Or just following their instinct?
Astonished by the vital force of life, I kept watching them for a while in the cold darkness.
# by whitebleach | 2006-07-02 22:05 | Travel
Solo-touring to Korea (2)
On Dec. 24th, the very day of Christmas eve, I left my home westward on my "iron-mule".

I had finished its running-in for the initial 1,000km around my home and was thinking about a touring on it.
However, no particular place in my own country had not drawn my inspiration at the time. Sceneries and people would not change as dramatically as expected for the hustle on traffic & accommodation as well as for their cost.
Looking around the neighboring countries, foreigners are not allowed to drive motorcycles in China, and Russia cannot be a good option for motorcycles in winter.
Then... how about... KOREA? :D
It should be the best overseas option considering about the duration and cost for transportation of my own bike.
And it has some world heritages to see, refreshing countryside to drive... and their original foods to enjoy. :-P

With a middle-sized touring bag on the tail, I drove down to Osaka.
I dared to take my route on general roads, as highways seemed less suitable for this poco a poco trip.
For the first 300km from my home, I had enjoyed refreshing countryside atmosphere apart from dense sceneries of metropolis.
However, I found piles after piles of snow in Nagoya. It reminded me of the news that we had had a record snow just few days before.
With slight sense of foreboding, I called one of my friends in the city. He said it had been an emergency with record snow out there and he himself was just going to his office even though it was on weekend.
And his next words backed my uneasy feeling... the main roads to Kyoto and Osaka was closed with the heavy snow. T_T

I had to detour southward on an alternative route.
Compared to the normal route (Nagoya->Shiga->Kyoto->Osaka), it was a time consuming route through mountains and basins where the Japanese NINJA had hidden in history.

It has already been dark. It was not only because of night but also because of fewer streetlights on the road. I kept running through mountains to feel it unbearably freezing to the bone.
When I took rest on a roadside facility, I may had exhausted. My body heat had lost and only a cup of coffee was not sufficient to compensate it. With my shaking hands and body, I took a penlight and checked the level of engine oil. Hmm...? Smells something burning :-(. No..., the oil level is o.k....??? OOPS!!! I was burning my jacket on the exhaust pipe! T_T
Damn! Holes were made on the sleeve and shoulder!! It's no more waterproof...;;;

Convincing myself that it won't rain on this trip, ...it should be a snow under this temperature (^_^;), I resumed the leg to Osaka.
It was over 9 p.m. when I arrived somewhere in central Osaka. I jumped into a MacDonald's for coffee, and tried to find an accommodation for the night. The staffs at MacDonald's did not know where the reasonable accommodations are. The youngsters on the tables didn't either.
I took my mobile to ask my friend here who used to be a back-packer in her schooldays. We met on a bridge in Turkey 15 years ago and had been friends since then.

"Hi! It's me! Sorry for my call late in the evening, but can you tell me some reasonable accommodations here?"
"Oh? What are you doing here?! Where exactly you are??"
"Sorry, I don't know where I am, but the branch name of the MacDonald's I stay reads XXX. I'm on my way to Korea on my motorcycle..."
"HAHAHAHA~! (^-^) Ok, you're welcome to our place. My partner (=husband) SHALL prepare a dinner, bed and breakfast for you."
"Thanks! (^o^)/ But you are such a tyrant over him... ^_^;;"


*patches on the holes in my touring jacket ^_^;
# by whitebleach | 2006-07-02 19:03 | Travel
Solo-touring to Korea (1)
It has become a little bit dated topic... :-P

At the end of the last year, I bought a small off-road motorcycle.
It is basically same as its ancestor model without fundamental modification for these 20 years.
It has nothing to do with the latest technologies nor nothing to compete against the latest models.
It's only 200cc... that means it's highway legal in terms of regulation but actually had not been expected to cruise there.
20 years ago, we had places to enjoy off-road riding just around us, but now, we have to stretch out to farther areas over those places that had been developed with houses and buildings.

* The color is different from mine.

With everything considered, this machine... seemed suitable for me for now.
I'm no more as aggressive in riding as I used to be in my teens. It should be as nice as jumping & sliding in dusty & muddy closed courses to go motorcycle trekking without caring about the roads whether they are paved or unpaved.
Less power means better fuel economy that promises longer range. It should run almost 500km without refueling.
A long-selling "fossil" should be another word for "maturity" that may mean "reliability" and "easiness of trouble shooting".
Hmm... this should be good for easygoing touring....

Few weeks later, I could have 1week+ off and it should be almost 2 weeks off along with the weekends and new year holidays... :D
# by whitebleach | 2006-07-02 14:02 | Travel
A Toy of impulse purchase
I have been quite busy since my sudden transfer in April '05... The days could have easily become stressful with my new business tasks & high bars to clear. However, I have been surviving so far, without being trapped in depression nor losing joyful mindset in my mentality :-).

Even in such circumstances, my optimism and playful mind has never bent;-). People often say that shopping and traveling are most refreshing activities to retrieve good inner balances for well-adjusted mental comfort, and I repeatedly found it TRUE...(^^;).

The latest item of my impulse purchase is...

a 27 year-old mini 4WD!! :D

It was in a late Saturday afternoon when my eyes got stuck on the "for sale" ad for this attractive toy on a website during a time-killing Internet surfing. Few minutes later, I was talking to the seller on the phone..., and few hours later... I found myself on an overnight highway coach. In the next morning on Sunday, at 7 a.m., the business was done with the person who wants to sell the car in a town in Shikoku Island, almost 800km away from my home. Then, I drove the mini car (it's only 550cc... smaller than a motorcycle!) through the whole way... not to be late for my job on Monday, 9 a.m.!

Ridiculous? Crazy?

Anyway, I could be a happy boy with his favorite toy for the following few months! :D
# by whitebleach | 2006-06-30 02:33 | Diary
My PC got fixed, maybe... ^^;
At last, my computer got fixed. The following pictures are test postings.

<1 of 3> Mt. Fuji from Hakone at sunset.

<2 of 3> White plum has blossomed in a park in my neighborhood.

<3 of 3> A Schooter at a fishing port.

# by whitebleach | 2005-03-07 01:10 | Diary
Medical Checks
Since the biginning of the new year, I had been taking some medical checks at a hospital in my busyness.

Having been feeling something strange -slightly numb and sometimes with dull pain- with my left half of my face, I went to brain/neurosurgery and took MRI pictures. The result was clean, surgically no problem. Then I was transferred to neurology and took blood test. The result was also clean, biochemically no problem... However, the subjective symptom is still noticed as before.

Hmm... Elimination finally lead to the diagnosis that "viral neuritis" is most suspicious, i.e. stress might have made me less resistant to common viruses and they (=viruses) have penetrated and colonized themselves onto the facial nerve to cause the slight neuropathic symptom. -_-#

Currently spontaneous recovery is the only way to go... Ok, the symptom itself is not so serious, only the strange feeling and not a functional one so far. But how long should I wait for the spontaneous recovery? Six month or so? That much?? Good grief... I have to try to live less stressful days... but how~!? ^^;
# by whitebleach | 2005-02-18 23:47 | Diary
Birds of a feather... drank toghether ^^;
Last weekend, I joind a small party to cerebrate one of my high school friends who had published her own comic book last yaer. She is a cartoonist/漫画家 who has been writing for some comic magazines, but this was her memorable first book to be published on commercial basis.

I was told about the party from my senior friend of my high school days. He is now working for a museum as a resercher specializing in the study of...also Manga(^^;).

It was the first time to see her after our graduation from high school, and there were other old faces on the table. Among them, in the 10 people or more, one more professional cartoonist/漫画家 was found. He has already had his book published and also won a prize in "Yomiuri International Cartoon Contest/読売国際漫画大賞", the "most prestageous" cartoon contest (according to the sponsor, a Japanese newspaper company ^^;). Anyway, what a density of Manga professionals...!

Further coinceidence followed. The husband of the cartoonist firstly mentioned above was also my high school friend, and it became apparent that he had also been captivated by travel and photographs. He has been to Turkey 6 times to take photographs and held his own exibition in Shinjuku. Some of his works seem to be kept by a photo museum! :)

While I was talking with the last one, a travel & photo lover, we found our kindred spirits between us and agreed to have another opprotunity to talk more about travel at some "interesting" restaurant. As I had nothing to show him about my travel at the time, I uploaded some pictures of my past travel to Nepal (in 1988^^;;) to a Web folder for reference. Though they are just rough snaps, please feel free to follow the above link if you feel interested.

Anyway, I myself was really amzed to find such strange ties again after two decades. Once a clue of Manga was found and pulled, colourful(?) faces came up on the ground one after another like sweet potatoes on a single vine... ^^;;
# by whitebleach | 2005-01-16 00:34 | Diary
A Happy Snowy New Year
b0044345_22232266.gifOn the new year's eve, the snow made the world calm and white.


As it was very fine on the next new year's day, my friend and I began to drive down along the Pacific coast heading to Mt. Fuji.

The closer we got to the mountain, the thicker snow remained on the ground.

b0044345_22272162.gifAnd finally we came to the point where we had to think of turning back the way.... Without snow chains, even my friend's small 4x4 could not gain enough traction any longer.

However, we did not turn our way back for nothing. We enjoyed open-air hot springs with a splendid view of Mt. Fuji! (sorry, no photo :P)

Japanese saying says "一富士、二鷹、三茄子", which means that the desirable lucky charms in our New Year's dream are "firstly Mt. Fuji, secondly a hawk, thirdly an eggplant". Would it be lucky year for us?

Anyway, may this year be lucky to you all~!
# by whitebleach | 2005-01-15 22:28 | Diary
Tokyo Millenario 2004
In the evening of the friday 24th, TOKYO MILLENARIO 2004 started at Marunouchi area in Tokyo, where my office is located. The picture shown below was taken with my mobile phone just in front of my office on my way back home on last friday.
The season has finally come again... I have to hustle to cross the street to the station sweeping among the crowd walking under the tunnnel of the illumination.... *sigh*

# by whitebleach | 2004-12-26 00:54 | Diary