What an Incredible country , Fantastic food and Wonderfull people. One of few Japanese words I have learnt is ‘Sugoi’ which in English means Awesome! Even this doesn’t do the country justice. From the Sea on the South West coast up and over the Japanese Alps to Tokyo and up to Hokkaido then back to Tokyo down to Osaka and then to the eastern coast with its wild beaches and magnificent mt Fuji so far it’s been Sugoi truly Sugoi!
When you book a camper van in Japan be aware that the average size of a Japanese person is considerably smaller than us giants which applies to all the accessories from plates to chairs! All five of us managed to squeeze in and travelled around Hokkaido as well as eating and sleeping in this little chubster!
As you can see by the size of the accessories including the plates and chairs these little campervans are designed for the average Japanese family not us giants !However we all managed to eat ,sleep and travel in reasonable comfort.It even came with a Porta Potty ,which went unused thankfully as you can just imagine the arguments I’m sure.
The Porta Potty was the subject of absolute amazement not in its workings but in the way the hire company handed me an envelope with 9000¥ in upon arrival to pick up the truck .I had booked and had paid a deposit back in January so was pleasantly surprised when due to a special offer which they were running in September of a free Porta Potty they refunded me the cost of said Potty! I found this astonishing as I wasn’t to know there was a special offer being advertised .I just thought that this was a genuine good will gesture showing their honesty and integrity I wonder if the same would happen in the U.K.?
We watched the opening ceremony and Japan Russia in the Sapporo fan zone which was a great experience with supporters from all nations cheering on the incredible Japanese team ,Sugoi indeed!
The next evening we had been invited to a rugby themed evening which had been put on by the Sapporo local government .Not really knowing what to expect we turned up at the registration desk to be told we weren’t correctly dressed as this was an official event ,but if we liked we could visit the bar downstairs and watch New Zealand v South Africa on the big screen.Imagine my delight when ordering drinks at the bar I was told it was a free bar and food would be served shortly.So in true Farrell fashion we got stuck in and had rather more than our fair share of Guinness and great grub. Sugoi again!
Then to top the evening off we were offered a lift back to down town in a VIP coach where we bumped into the British ambassador again who we entertained with a few of my finest Rugby songs including ,a French man went to the lavatory,Fisher man Fisherman home from the sea and Blackbird I’ll have E! He laughed his head off and giggled all the way home a great end to a truly entertaining day . Thank you,to the tax payers of Sapporo ! Sugoi and Arigato!
So to our first game in Sapporo after a little tour of the area near the stadium we stumbled across a council run fam in the centre of town and to my utter delight the had a collection of vintage tractors I’m in Heaven!
They even had a New Holland crimper on display. The kids really enjoyed my guided tour of the machinery shed and were impressed with my knowledge of all things agricultural, Sugoi I heard them say!
Got our tickets and off to the game England v Tonga Its been a long time planning ,driving and thinking about it but we’re here and ready for the Rugby!
I won’t go into the details of the game as I realise that not everyone reading this is a Rugby fan and also because I can’t remember much of it ! But a good game and result!35- 3 I seem to remember Sugoi!
Back to Tokyo the following day and headed for Osaka to pick up second camper van which the kids have for their cosy sleeping arrangements
The sleeping arrangements were a bit cramped so Hazel opted for the hammock ,Wise girl! All ready for England USA game and another resounding victory despite the Trump supporters !
A double celebration with England winning and Hazel hearing she has got a job to come back to! She will be the new reception class teacher at Hemyock Primary School ,the very same school she attended 21 years ago ! Very proud parents. Double Sugoi!
Next up Japan v Ireland ,what an atmosphere what a game another Sugoi moment
Sunrise watching Mt Fuji wake up ,no words available!
Yet another Sugoi moment as we were just cooking up supper on the beach one of the Hairy Handlebars arrived for Gin o clock! By absolute coincidence George had cycled up from Tokyo and had pitched camp on the other side of the lake where he spotted Amber and came and joined us for supper and a few days together.Sugoi!
The last time we sat around the fire was in the desert in Kazakhstan so many a story to tell.
One of our favourite wild camping spots underneath an upside down bridge by the wild sea !
A game of French cricket on a Japanese beach underneath the upside down bridge But where’s Amber?
Bullet train up to Tokyo for the weekend to see England v Argentina just like flying but without the hassle so smooth,quick and comfortable .Why can’t all trains be like that?
A boisterous bunch of Argentina’s supporters who were in great voice before the game unfortunately it didn’t last long as the red card sending off put an end to that and the game ,shame as they were great fun!
Met up with an old New Holland work chum Dan Halliday who was out for the game Long time no see Dan let’s do it again in France 2023!
Back down to Shizuoka by train to meet up again with Dougie and Emily who we had met whilst travelling through Uzbekistan.These guys from Bristol took a couple of weeks to convert their van left the U.K. last November travelling through Europe then basically the same route as us !So cool ,great company and an inspiration ! Our free parking spot for a couple of nights was a graveyard which was buzzing with mozzies and-crawling with spiders!
Next game Scotland Russia with a resounding win for the Sweaty Socks!We salute you!
We experienced another display of honesty and integrity from the owner of the Air BnB we had booked for the two days we were due to spend in Yokohama to watch the England France game . Due to the imminent arrival of Typhoon Haggis the game was cancelled so we asked for a partial refund ,as we were advised not to travel as weather conditions were worsening with the eye of the storm hitting Yokohama on Saturday afternoon .To our complete surprise he immediately refunded the full amount and said he was really sorry that we were unable to visit Yokohama and wished us luck with the rest of our trip! What a guy SUGOI ! We also had a full refund from RWC ticketing office which made us feel a lot better about missing out on the game.
Australia v Georgia guess who we were supporting? Not much Waltzing Matilda tonight even though the Aussies won they were pretty quiet in the stadium with a few glum looking faces . Bring it on Australia v England next weekend in the Quater finals
First sign of something brewing out at sea! These waves were getting bigger and bigger as Typhoon Haggis gets closer .Compare the size of the waves with the industrial poly tunnels. No swimming today!
A big sky with cloud building and wind increasing so decided to head inland away from expected high tide with rivers overflowing and a 12 m sea surge ! “Let’s get the truck out of here” I was heard to say!
We found this little sheltered corner in a country park which was great ,as by the time we had parked up the heavens opened and didn’t close for 15 hrs along with a ferocious wind and a quickly rising river beside us made for an exciting afternoon ,evening ,night which we spent in the back of Amber eating Japanese Pot noodles ,a few beers and a great Japanese film on the lap top Sugoi,Sugoi,Sugoi!
It had been the worst Typhoon for 60 years with over 40 deaths and destruction covering a wide area including the area we had just left .It was a terrible natural disaster which I guess we’ll all have to adapt to these type of events as the world gets warmer and wilder!
The biggest game of the knockout stages was to be Scotland V Japan .We found an Irish bar with big screens showing the game which Japan won scoring some wonderful tries the whole bar went wild ,what a game
This picture says it all, not very focused,bit blurred and full of Japanese Joy!
Japan are through to the quarter finals which is fantastic for the country a real boost after the dreadful weekend! SUGOI!
So next we head south en route to Oita for a great weekend of Rugby .The Hairy Handlebars joined us again for some great fun along the way . Great news Hazel and Douglas have won a competition for two tickets for the Australia game ! How Sugoi is that?
Golden Temple in Kyoto
Monkeys doing what monkeys do best
Trees just starting to change colour
Another wild night with the Hairy Handlebars
Cycling around the islands
A very sobering experience visiting Hiroshima’s Peace memorial Museum and the surrounding area ,with this building still standing ,having survived the blast! A really moving exhibition with some very graphic displays of how the residents of Hiroshima suffered at the time of the blast and for many years later .
A shocking reminder of how brutal war is and why we should always remember how the generation before us suffered, sacrificed and lived through several wars and be grateful of the freedom we have to be able to live in relative peace and travel unhindered.
Sport is a great leveller and opportunity for countries to compete in a civilised way .If only all conflicts could be resolved by a game of Rugby!
We just need to beat Australia on Saturday then New Zealand next weekend and then meet Japan in the Final .Now that would be Truly SUGOI wouldn’t it !