Friday, June 11, 2010

Japan Coast2Coast: A new beginning

The Three Amigos

Last Tuesday afternoon, myself, Lowell and Mark, packed our bikes into our portable carry bags, gave a last glance at the gray blue palette of Itoigawa city and sat quietly waiting for our train back to Nagoya City. The week-long trek through the majestic Alps of Japan was now just a series of images captured in our cameras, blips of memories in our minds and a collection of bruises, stains and tall-tales which the three of us will no doubt reflect on over the coming months. As I recount the distance we traveled and the mountains we scaled, I am beginning to think that this trip was the oddest display of a mid-life crisis if ever there was one. I can only hope I have many more "crisis" in the years to come.

One theme that underscored the whole trip was WATER. Wherever we cycled, you could hear the presence of rushing streams and rivers. It reminded me how blessed Japan is with this very basic human necessity. Whether it was a trickling brook, a crashing waterfall or a supine glacial river cutting a swath through a valley, water served as a reminder of why I really undertook this trip; to raise money for the construction of water wells in poor Cambodian villages. To that end, the three of us were able to raise over ¥600,000. This is enough to help about 20 families obtain needed water for their crops and living. In doing so, we also help them become self-sufficient. Damn, that feels good.

So, what now? It doesn't end here. If you would like to donate there is still plenty of time to do so. Just drop me an email and let me know. We're already planning a Short version of the Japan Coast to Coast this fall. Most likely the route will start in Nagoya bay and end in Tsuruga bay about 120 kilometers away. We're planning to make it a short two-day trip with open registration. So if you're interested in joining us let me know. The big Coast2Coast across the Alps will likely happen again in September 2011. We're thinking of forming corporate teams and so far one company has already committed a team.

Things are shaping up. What started as a simple challenge/tour is slowly turning into a platform for the promotion of a healthier lifestyle, a way to discover Japan and most importantly a vehicle to help our friends in need of a better life.

The end? Not Likely.

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