I’m so parted between calling this day: « bad decisions » or « worthy risks. »
The plan was to go to a beach, said the ‘most beautiful’ of Nagasaki (mind you, a lot of things are called the ‘most beautiful, ‘greatest in the world’ or ‘Obama went there’ when it’s about marketing), in the south of the city. It’s a mere 26 kilometers that result in an hour of bus.
And I bought a bike yesterday 😬
So since I’m so hot headed and enthusiast, I just brush it off (‘me? taking the bus? meh no, i’ll bike there’) and leave in the morning fresh like a flower « see you in two hours! » and I leave.
And it’s fine. It’s a bit slow in the city center but once I pass the port, it gets a bit better. I pass the Megami Bridge, that I saw from the boat last time. I cross some industrial areas which aren’t really nice but y’a know, the enthusiasm is there and I go, I go. Some of the districts that I see have some strong Dutch influence and it’s really interesting to see these pieces of history scattered beyond the main center of the city.
I arrive to the point where I’m a bit off track and leave the main road. It goes up. Well, it’s fine, I’m still going. It doesn’t stop though so I end up by walking a little bit. The road becomes narrow and it becomes a bit tricky to have two cars and a bike passing comfortably. When I reach the middle of a forest with nothing around, I start looking at the time. 1h30 and 16km done. Not quick but only 10km left! I’m kind of thirsty and of course, we’re in Japan. I’m in the middle of nowhere with abandoned family factories, but there’s a vending machine standing there by the side of the road.
I continue and stumble onto some great views. It feels like the reward of the hard slope and damn, this landscape is so unique. It resonates with such an Asian vibe to me, may it be the climate and geology of the islands that can be seen. It reminds me of when I biked in Okinawa, except that I did only 10km then.
So at this point, I was still going strong, thinking that I was doing the harsh hills and I would arrive soon. 10km is close after all, isn’t it?
Ahah, I was so wrong. So wrong.
You can see it through my camera feed because I stopped taking pictures when I had to push the bike up the hill to then climb it down at a scary speed. And you repeat that a good ten times. Under the sun. With no bike/pavement lines, with the cars on these tiny roads. And these 10km just never ended 😬
The more hills I was crossing, the more I didn’t want to think about going back. I didn’t even want to give up because it would mean crossing back the fucking mountains that I climbed and I had the tiny tiny hope that I would soon arrive. But it seemed like I was moving like a snail and the distance only shrank 500 meters by 500 meters. 10km then 8.8, then 6.9, then 5.3…
When I arrived at the sea level, I took a small picture break and found a place to put my bike all nicely and all. The place was pretty and the moral going back up. Packing up my stuff onto the basket, I discovered that my lunch box opened itself in the bag. It’s fine! Then one of my camera lens went and embraced the Japanese ground like a leap of faith. It was in its case so it’s fine too, I pick it up and I finish this damn trip.
Finally, I arrive. I put my bike on the side and go join the two other exchange students who have already been there for two hours. The place is beautiful, and desert. It’s September after all and Japanese aren’t keen about tanning on the beach. I do my things and go around to take pictures. I discover that the aperture blades of my lenses are dancing in the lens itself and I just broke one of my beloved 85mm. I think one of the aperture blade got out of it to stick itself right through my heart.
It’s with sore legs, uneasy heart and uncertainty about how the fuck I’m gonna go back before 6 to meet Mitsuki that I lay under the sun.
The nice thing in all that is that since there were other exchange students, it kind of forced me to tone down what had just happened and I tried to look really okay about it.
« just broke my lens? meeeh, it’s fine, it’s just material, I did not hurt myself or anything 😉 »
*hollow cries inside my chest*
We even went and swam in the sea for a while. The temperature was a perfect mix of warm air and fresh water. So it’s official now, we swam in the East China Sea (or the Sea of Japan, depends how you wanna see it!)
When it became time to go back to the center, the strategy was all planned out. Beg for the bus driver to take me and my bike, or hitch-hike. The thing with the second option is that I didn’t know for how long I’d be staying on the side of the road, even if there were many nice looking old men with pickup trucks (Japanese size though, let’s not dream of big SUV.)
The first option worked after first being told no. I begged and claimed that I had a flat tire and needed to go back to Nagasaki. The driver wasn’t too happy about it but we boarded the bus and I kept my bike to the side while watching all the hills I didn’t have to climb back.
Once in the center, I parted with the exchange students and went up to my apartment to quickly shower and run back to Mitsuki. I made it on time in the end!
Some grocery shopping later, we were onto making some dinner and having some lovely conversation. We made some… いり鶏? (Iri–dori) It’s chicken thighs boiled with sake accompanied with carrots and lotus roots. It didn’t disappoint and it allowed to finish the day with a bit of a lighter heart.