The Japanese Odyssey; The Unnamed and Untraveled

Author: ryan walker | 16/04/2017 | bikepacking , Japan , races and events , The Japanese Odyssey
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A brief account of the 2016 edition of the Japanese Odyssey, plus insight into what the organisers hope the 2017 edition aims to achieve.

Words Emmanuel Bastain   Photos Eigo Shimonjo

The apocalypse.

It looked as if the most difficult portion of my segment was behind me. I reached the top of Mount Norikura, joining Guillaume Schaeffer and Pascal Viout (#8), who long before I arrived had found a warm and dry place.

Dark clouds covered the sky, and I knew for sure that the descent under such heavy rain would be more than challenging. Torrents of water rushed on the road, while my brakes were unable to stop my engine. I was left with little choice but to ruin my cleats on the asphalt.

From there I am unable to say if what followed is what really happened, or if it is simply a figment of my imagination, but at some point I closed my eyes. I saw snow flakes getting heavier, turning into golden pearls, and forming a snowstorm.

When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on the street. Our 3 bikes were leaning on the window of a 7-Eleven konbini. We were gulping food. All was silent.

When we first imagined the Japanese Odyssey, we had in mind something wild. We were dreaming of an event with a high mileage. We were dreaming of an event which explored the wilderness of Japan.

The motto of the 2017 edition is: secondary, unnamed and untraveled roads. As an inspiration, we would like to quote one of Matsuo Bashō’s haiku:


Along this road
Goes no one,
This autumn eve.


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