Saturday, June 27, 2015

I am not a fit man.

The journey began at a campsite just west of the famous "Tappizaki", the place where winds that start a journey blows, we woke up late and spent the next couple of hours arguing like we did (and will do) a lot, and by the time any actual walking started it was about ten thirty in the morning.
The walk was hard, very hard, half the day was spent walking in a ten percent incline up a mountain, but damn, what a beautiful mountain! Every time I stopped to catch my breath, I lost it to the view.
Nihon wa totemo totemo utsukushi desu.
We finally stopped to rest at the top of the mountain where a highly visited view point was located, and so as we set up our stove to cook some rice and make tea, a bus full of old Japanese ladies unloaded before us and we encounter our first taste of Japanese curiosity, and our favorite kind of Japanese person, the old lady.
We were swarmed with haste, questioned about our origin, where are we going, how heavy our bags, got photographed and lastly, showered with Japanese candy given to us for good luck. We in return gave them our Tomo no Note for them to sign in.
We camped there for a few hours (a bit too much, but we spent the time talking with random kind Japanese tourists) and when we left I felt much better as the rest of the was spent going down the mountain instead of up.
Our first night we spent next to a small waterfall we found on the side of the road as it got dark, and when we woke up we discovered it being another tourist spot when a bus (again, full of old Japanese ladies) stopped to allow his passengers to take pictures, although, in hind sight, they might just took pictures of the two strange foreigners brushing their teeth in the falls.
When we started walking the fatigue hit me hard, my whole body was aching and although Guy denied it, I'm sure his as well, we stopped for lunch in a town called Kodomari, I had a delicious plate of Japanese curry while guy ordered on a whim a plate filled with strange sliced sea creatures, I had a good lunch, he did not.
The rest of the day was spent walking, sticking close to route 339 and stopping just to rest my legs (since as it says in the title, I am not a fit man) and receiving random things from people along the way and wishes of good luck.
Come we discovered that we made a wrong turn and had to go back four kilometres back to the the right turn to route 12, eventually camping at the edge of a lake to spend the night.
The third day was the day my body screamed for rest. We woke up and my body ached like never before, I smeared my everything with Bengay and reluctantly left the nice lake towards the road.
At noon we found a small Ramen shop in the town of Shariki, run by the nicest old lady on the planet, we stopped for lunch and were showered with pampering and dishes "on the house", she questioned us on our journey and gave us directions and we ended up staying there probably way more than we should have. The rest of the day we spent trying to find a guest house or some kind of hostel to sleep in but after receiving directions from a drunk old man and walking two hours in a rice field we finally camped right next to the main road with our tent.
Day four was the marking of our rest. We started walking, still sad on the loss of the promised hotel and with very little water left in our packs, after about two hours of walking we stopped to fill our water at a gas station ran by a very angry man and two very nice female attendants, they told us the way to the nearest town and a couple of our later we were neck deep in the waters of a "public bath and spa". It was amazing. Revived every aching muscle and tendon in my body. From there we got directions to a nearby "Minshuku", a Japanese guest house, but when we finally arrived there we discovered it full. They kindly offered to give us a ride to the the hotel just up the road from there and we, tired and dreaming of a dry and warm bed, accepted.
And then we saw the hotel. expecting a small homely place with a few beds and a shower. we discovered "Grand Mer Ajigasawa" a five stars traditional Japanese style hotel that cost us about 300 dollar a night.
well, what the heck, YOLO and all that right? so we paid, we staid, we ate and used their in house hot spring, although we are now 30700 yen shorter, at least we didn't camp in the rain!

Monday, June 22, 2015

First things first, Air France has probably the best in flight good I ever had. We had two breakfasts and a dinner with Air France and everything was delicious!
Our flight took us first to France for a connection to Tokyo, we made good use of our six hours wait and took a train to Paris to meet our good friend Dayan who's living there for the past few years, he took us for a real French and gave us a very (very) quick tour of the city since we essentially had one hour to spend together if we wanted to make it back to the airport in time. When reaching the airport the torture started, for guy anyways. Something in the coffee we had for breakfast in Paris must have been wrong with his digestive system since he spent most of the next day in the bathroom, cursing the day Dayan was born.
I had a great flight though.
When landing in Tokyo we again started exploring since we had another 4 hours to burn before our final flight to Aomori, we ate breakfast (guy had plain white rice for his stomach, didn't help.) And toured the quite expensive brand shops around the airport untill it was time for Aomori.
This one was shorter and less then two hours we arrived at our hotel.
When reaching reception we met our first friend in Japan, an American pastor who's married to a japanese woman and came to Aomori to give a sermon. We recognized each other from the flight to Aomori, being the only foreigners on it made it quite the easy task.
When we finally got our room got collapsed from exhaustion and I spent most of the day tired, trying to find information for our next stop, Tappizaki cape.
The day after was spent making sure everything is ready for the great walk. We spent a few hours trying to find an ATM to draw enough cash and then went and bought about 3 weeks worth of food. We kind of went overboard, so much so that some of the food couldn't for in our pack and had to be left out (wayyy too much ramen).
Lastly we remembered we needed gas to actually cook the food or well probably starve. So at last minute we hurried to a camping shop recommended by the hotel to meet the friendliest staff ever. After finding our last items we spent time talking in broken English and Japanese about our trip, Israel, and the beauty of Japan.We have then our Social media and in return they gave us bandanas (I am actually wearing mine as I write this post) and finally we took a selfie together to remember the nice friends we made.
Now it is one AM, our packs are packed and everything is ready, tomorrow we head for Tappizaki cape, and the day after that...
That's when our story begins.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

No way back

Originally I was going to title this post "My Many Last Times", a fitting title for a post concerning my last two weeks before the flight and the start of my adventure.
But as any writer knows, things rarely end up as you expect them to be written.
My last two weeks up until today started slowly, calmly and with no hint of anything special to come, at least for me. I spent my last few days at home on my computer, mainly watching You Tube as I usually do when I don't feel like playing anything from my Steam account, and apart for my mother making my favorite dish for my last day at home, it felt like another Saturday to me.
I think the first hint of anxiety hit me when I went to sleep the day after. I spent the day with one of my best friends and crashed on a spare mattress at his place late that night and had a dream that woke me up in cold sweat. It looks like a silly dream now, but in it Guy got lost at the airport, the travel agency got bankrupt, the plane stalled, Japan decided on a strict "No Foreigners" policy and I lost my hat.
 I like my hat.
I paid it no mind at the time, laughing it off as something small and insignificant, but as the days passed it grew inside me. For the first time for a long time I felt the enormity of what I was about to do.
I spent most of my time with my Girlfriend, trying to make our last days together as pleasurable (and maybe somewhat romantic) as I can. We cried a bit when I left and cuddled some more, but all the time I spent with her my mind went overseas.
The height of this "Pre-flight" period came at our "Farewell Party". People came from all over, ate my food, drank every bit of alcohol Omri had at his place, threw up and passed out in spades, it was glorious. This was also the first time I admitted to myself, I'm nervous.
As I watched my friends eat and drink and congratulate us, as I saw how much they are happy for us, I realized how nervous I really am. as much as I tried to tell myself "I'm the calm one", "I know what I'm doing", "I've got this." in reality, I'm a mess.
I am afraid, so very afraid, this thing is terrifying, paralyzing! When one stands before his dreams he feels their magnitude. This is crazy, what kind of idiot am I to try something like this? But I kept this in, I kept on going like everything is peachy, tried to be calm.
So obviously it call exploded and collapsed the day after.
Me and guy had our first fight. it was natural to happen, and I'm sure it wont be our last, but it might actually be our first fight ever. not a "first trip related fight" but any fight. so its natural I felt it come down like a river, this was my breaking point, this was when I let it out.
Not to guy obviously, but to another friend. I let out my fears, as I'm sure Guy did too. and even tough were like two mules still keeping quite with tension and anxiety, and even tough I still haven't apologized on my side of the argument, I think the mountain is behind us. At least this one.
Now, there is no turning back.
Now, a few hours before the flight, all were missing is the plane.
One day I will look back on my fears today and laugh how silly I was, but today is not that day. Today I think I'll take another pee break and pray I'll be able to sleep.

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Which a Sidekick Is Introduced

Whatever the time of day is where you're, dearest potential readers, I hope that it's good. My name is Guy, and I'll be co-hosting this blog whilst stumbling wearily at Shahar's heels on our titular fools(') errand: his own personal Sancho Panza, his Dr. Watson, his Robin the Boy Wonder. As I'm all but certain you soon would, if you haven't already, you'll notice that my posts can be easily told apart (all to more easily skip them) for their excessive verbiage, liberal smattering of misapplied terms from inappropriate linguistic stages and the implied notion that either of the two can be somehow justified if only they're ironically acknowledged beforehand by the writer. Shahar has requested that I make a post about my feelings regarding the upcoming trip and now he'll see what comes of it.

Since I'm going to spend the next six months or as such doing just that, I shall start by following in the man's steps and introducing myself in more detail (in fact, I've a gnawing suspicion that the vast majority of this post would consist of little more, given the thought processes involved). As I already half-said, my name is Guy Reisman, 21 years old male, from Ra'anana, Israel. Like Shahar, I am and have for some time been a nerd – perhaps not as extrovertly as he (and not quite entirely in all the same senses), but vigorously nevertheless and in the fashion that tends to consume one's whole lifestyle and mindset from childhood, as tends to happen to nerds. I'd like to be able to say with good conscience that I'm an eccentric, or quirky, but both terms would be disingenuous. "Eccentricity", as the word is most usually used, implies either wisdom or knowledge – as if to hint by description that one's strangeness has somehow been the price one has paid for the acquisition of such – whereas "quirkiness" tends to be used as a term of endearment. A "quirky" individual is weird in the fluffy, colorful way that the designated love interest in a teen romantic comedy is, just as much to make clear that they have the potential to pull the dreary protagonist away from their bleak daily lives and into a festival of experience and sensation the likes of which they literally haven't imagined thus far.

I'm neither of those things. I'm just weird. I haven't gone out with friends until I was late into middle-school, and despite being able to name from the top of my head the functions and titles of a dozen Mayan gods and explain the mechanics behind quantum physical phenomena, I still don't entirely know how to make use of the post office (or what the way there is, for that matter), much less the bank, change the oil on my car, or tie my shoelaces right. I'm deathly afraid of cockroaches and can't sit with my back against a chair. I spend hours looking up obscure titles of cartoon porn the contents thereof raise concerns about my sexual orientation, sanity, and mental lucidity (and I insist on there being a difference). I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure that every single object in my room is lying at a 90o compared to the wall and at 5 centimeter incitements from all other ones (it bothers me when they don't), and I'd rather not eat for a day than leave my room and go to the kitchen if there's anyone there but my parents. I've never been away from home for more than two weeks at a time – and that was during basic training.  

I decided to go on a sixth month camping trip on a whim.

This, by itself, is neither a very informative statement, nor does it adequately illustrate both the absurdity and the decade-long emotional chain reaction which has (so far as I've been able to analyze it following the occasion) led to this strange and unexpected development.
As I've explained in some length above (forgive my verbosity, I've been dying to write some of those down for posterity for months now), I'm not exactly the type of person one would normally envision making that kind of choice. The fact to be mindful of, though, is that until not many years back, I was far, far further. What little progress I've made since then on the theoretical scale of functionality-as-an-adult-human-being I owe, of all people, to Shahar and friends.

We met for the first time over the internet (I used to meet most of my friends there), on an Israeli anime fandom forum that might no longer exist today, for all that I know of it. We hit of magnificently, with a furious argument about the precise definition of science fiction that he no doubt still thinks that he won. That's how you know nerds love each other. Several months later, I was introduced to the man in person (and through him, to many dear, longtime friends) on a "real-life convention" for the forum members, and to this day, I remember the decision to go on it – a very difficult one, mind you, for someone who until then and up to today faces trouble leaving his room when the time's not right – as one of the best I've made. Outside home, on the streets of Tel-Aviv, for the first time in life truly by myself and away from the comforts of family and home, surrounded (again, for the first time) by people with whom I could talk to and share both my feelings and interest, I stayed out later than I ever have. I've experienced joys the likes of which I'd read and written about, but which I was never able to thus far appreciate, which seemed to me as alien and wonderful as they were tantalizingly forbidden. On consecutive meetings with Shahar, which eventually became their own thing and separate from "real-life forum conventions", I spoke for the first time with kids whom I didn't know from school, and was astounded by how deep and friendly and interesting they could be. I had alcohol for the first time and went into a 24/7 grocery store to buy snacks in the middle of the night for the first time.

It feels almost pathetic to write that. By all means, I think that it should. These are things every young kid should find for themselves at a far earlier age than I did. They shouldn't seem nearly so magical as they did to me, who grew up coddled and with a silver spoon in his mouth not by my parents (whom I now know would've both been, for all their incredible understanding, ecstatic for me to strike out first) but by my own childish and emotionally retarded nature. I retell the events as they happened, however. The fact of the matter is that through Shahar, for the first time in my life, I saw the world. That the world was a half-hour's bus ride (I never took the bus before meeting Shahar. It was dirty and full of noisy people) away from home and made up of convention centers and cafes and late night meeting spots by the beach was inconsequential. To me, it might as well have been a place across mountains it oceans. It might've been as distant as Ghana, Brazil or Japan.

Years went by too fast and underappreciated. That is the nature of years. I grew, and though only by little, my thought processes and my understanding of reality and my place in it grew more complex. I became aware, on a different level of being, of how inappropriate it was for me to be as I still am – a juvenile, emotionally dependent manchild whose time and effort are invested solely in instant gratification and the consumption of media. I pitied myself, but even though I realized it, in my mind, my feeble heart wouldn't allow action on that self-pity was a form of escape. To wallow in misery means to punish oneself for real or imagined wrongdoings, so that one might feel that the scales have been balanced (wrong=punishment) and dodge the too-obvious conclusion that wrongs don't require punishment, but to be fixed.

It was one of my last nights in the tenth grade. Shahar and his friends and mine and I all went to the beach. It was becoming a ritual, of kind. The time was long after dark. The sky, a pitch black that melds with the sea. A cool, Mediterranean wind whispered wistfully east (there goes my alliteration). We were seated around a campfire.

The flames whispered calmly in kind. They spoke to the wind, and it answered.

We passed around us a bottle of the world's cheapest whiskey. We ate chicken that Shahar roasted, and as the hours drew on and the moon rose high with the tides, those lit in fire orange against the blackness spoke.

We spoke about trivial things, at first. We spoke about movies. Video games. Books. We spoke about trivia, and made jokes, and imitated fictional characters, and each other. We spoke to the group. We spoke to individuals. We spoke to ourselves. Every once in a while, one or two people would leave the group. They'd go a few meters away to take a piss, or to kiss, or to say something to each other that didn't bear anyone else listening.
I won't tell you, now, when it was that a dear friend named Lemmy took my aside to talk. I won't tell just what he said.

If you're wondering, it involved two anime quotes, and a dash of his own roleplaying experiences.

That conversation opened my eyes about many things. At times, I wonder if I should've followed more closely the guidelines Lemmy spelled during it. He offered me a bible to life. A roadmap of the inner universe. It sounds like something you'd hear from a cult member. In my defense, we used to joke back then that Lemmy was a facet of Christ.

(You'll probably hear more about him in before our journey ends).

One piece of advice he did give me, though, and that since then I've tried to follow at almost all times, was this: never say "no" to a challenge just because it's impossible. That's the secret of doing impossible things.

I kept it to heart ever since, and for the most part I'd like to believe that it has served me well. I chose to interpret it liberally – "when the prospect of doing something crazy comes up, first assume you'll accept it then work back from there", and minus a few minor falls along the way (I'm reminded of how, maybe two years before that, I chose after a moment's hesitation to sign my name on a page passed among us in class and thereby commit to a yearlong Boy Scouts' counselor course – all because a girl I had a seventh grade crash on signed a moment before that. We didn't even end up in the same group, and having met with her years later I can now say with certainty that she was an idiot and the grapes were totally sour. It was alike this, but out of dedication to an ideal, rather than puberty) it's led me to some of the most intense moments of my life. Each one was a new beginning. Each one was a piece of the world revealed, and thus guided by Lemmy's words, step by step, I began on the road towards becoming not the person I wanted to be, but the person I had to. Happier by a measure. More confident. Reliable. 

So when Shahar brought up, one day, the fact that he'd like to go on a six month trip in Japan and that nobody else would join him, I said "yes" without hesitation. Admittedly, back then the idea seemed so far-fetched (and so distant in time – there would be literally years until we had to, theoretically, go!) that it may not have mattered so much. A part of me may have even assumed, if only subconsciously (hoped?) that the trip would be cancelled before we even got started preparing for it. When Shahar called me several months ago and began, out of the blue, talking about buying a tent and a sleeping bag and making plans, it first took me a minute to recall what he was talking about at all.

Then came a momentary terror, then bemusement. Then that subtle dread, so much that you hardly notice it except in retrospect, that accompanies the setting of a countdown. Six months, it was? Maybe more?

For a time, I set the thought aside, or tried to. It lingered in the back of my mind, in the fashion of long-term plans ("one day, I'll write that book") and outside my conversations with Shahar, I paid it little attention. As more and more time passed, however, the more it became apparent that Shahar was serious. The trip was a serious deal. One way or another, it was going to happen.

The moment I resigned myself fully to it was when Shahar took me to buy equipment at first. A tent, special traveling clothes, water purification devices… All things Shahar understood and which never really interested me before (and probably still don't, at least not nearly as much as they do him. Woe to me if we ever part, I still don't know how I managed to mentally float through all the times I was instructed on how to use half the gear).

Regardless, they cost nearly 10,000 NIS (3500$, give or take). I figured that once I've spent that kind of money on the trip, I wouldn't be able to cancel it in good conscience. It's not that my family's struggling (thank God for that), but maybe it's precisely because I never worked a day in my life and all my money always comes from my parents that I forever feel terrible about asking for any amount of it. The feeling that I don’t deserve it is a burden to bear, in a literal "rich people's problems" kind of way.

And I made my dedication. Now, I'm waiting for the flight, that should happen in a couple of days. This part of the introduction is over. I've written almost 3000 words and haven't gotten near where I wanted (it's just something that happens when I write). The thing is, when I put my mind just to it, my words uncharacteristically fail me.

If I were to express my feelings right now in a painting, it would be one of roiling storm-clouds, seen through an old fashioned glass windowpane. Out there, the winds howl and the air gets colder and wetter. There's a hint of something terrible coming, in the original sense of the word ("which begets terror"). A powerful, majestic disaster, the manifestation of forces beyond human ken and representative of something supernal. The type of looming death one can imagine themselves, in a fit of madness, rushing forth to welcome with their arms spread open. The clouds are visible. Their force can be only imagined, but still. They move slowly over the horizon to cover the sky, and maybe the storm will flatten that dark, imaginary house, and maybe it won't. What matters for the imaginary viewer, though, is that the clouds are out there. Behind the window, their image is blurred. The sound of the wind is muffled to a faint and unknowable roar at the edge of perception.

That window is a curtain I've artificially erected between my everyday thoughts and what I can only presume to be an excitement which would've rendered me completely incapacitated if I hadn't contained it beyond. I can see that anxiety gathering, in the recesses of my mind – the worries and fears and regrets welling up, but safely, for now, as I smile and part with my current life in Israel.

There are all too many regrets. I find myself thinking, sometimes, that this sensation must be reminiscent somehow of that experienced by the terminally ill (with all due respect to them mentioned, for which I have as much as I have little knowledge, which itself has been gained mostly off cheap drama novels and tearjerking films). The words "this is the last" keep swirling eternally through my mind. Everything I do or experience has an air of dreadful finality.

This is the last slice I'll eat of dad's homemade pizza. This is the last glass of mint lemonade. This is the last conversation I'll have my friends together, on a Saturday morning. Last time that we'll meet at home, and promise ourselves that next time, surely, we'll play a good game of D&D, like in the old times (why did we stop?). This is the last episode I'll watch of that cool new series (and to think that the next season's about to start just a few days after we leave…). This is the last time I'll wake up in bed, at home. The last time I'll go to the toilet there. Last time I use our shower (should I've been more appreciative of those little pleasures?). Last chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring that I'll read to my brother before bed. We still haven't gotten to Rivendell. He'll never hear me making his first ever impression of Gimli (and why is it that all those descriptions of hobbits struggling to move under the weight of their immense supply backpacks, quickly through the moors and fields, now feel that much more ominous?).

Friends and family members try to reassure me that six months is not all that long. While not incorrect, and while I vastly appreciate their concern, the notion nevertheless fails to calm me. Firstly, any period of time has a way of stretching while it is being experienced – and far more so if it is spent somewhere unfamiliar, doing hard work or alternatively, not much at all (just ask any IDF soldier who has to spend eight hours a time on watch). As I've already explained above, I'm very much a creature of both routine and comfort. The idea of going on even a single day's hike is overwhelming to me. Six months might as well be forever, on this scale of individualized time. That statistically, most people return from their trips to Japan (and if they like mint lemonade, will probably be able to find some more once they're back) doesn't matter because what's then is then, and what's somewhere else is then, too.  It feels like I'm the person who worries the most and is excited the least about it all. Everyone else keeps patting me on the back and pointing forward. Telling me how much I'm going to have, and how easy it's going to feel thinking back on it, regardless of how hard it might look facing it now. Shahar, in particular, seems to me awfully unconcerned about things. I had to beg him to draw us a map, and my bag's packed with twice as many supplies as he'd asked me to because I have a feeling we're going to need some of them. Extra clothing, extra medicines, spare batteries. You never know, and I'd rather be safe than sorry. Shahar says I'm paranoid. I say people tend to complain about having to carry around extra gear on trips only until it turns out to be needed. That's how it was with basic training, in any case.
Secondly, it fails to reassure me because it misses what is, for me, the point. This journey represents more than just a physical trek across a land I've never been to (past a continent and an ocean). It represents a transition from one state of existence to another. One that I do not welcome, but acknowledge the fact that I should.

My life is and always has been the life of a spoiled child. Even back when I was serving at the army, even when I was at school, in the great scheme of things I did very little beyond what I wanted to do (that instant, stupidly). The last few months, since my service has ended, I've spent doing almost nothing besides. Each day, while my friends and parents work and study and grow as people I wake up whenever I like, and after having a quick and unhealthy breakfast sit down in front of my computer and spend the rest of the day, until bed, either reading or writing or sating whatever childish urge for media has been passing my fancy that day. I'd be lying if I said I don't like it, on some level. It's certainly a pleasurable way to exist, if not a fulfilling one. It's also, alas, not one that can be reasonably sustained – and if it can, then, do you know – it shouldn't.

I look up the screen and see the tabs open on my browser. A to do list in internet links. Over thirty series' I still want to watch, "some time". Over fifteen books I still want to read. New ones keep coming out. Ones on my shelf that I've never even opened, because, paradoxically, there never seemed to be enough time "at the moment", yet there always seemed to be an infinity of it "sometime later".

I look up and realize, now more acutely than ever, that I won't ever finish watching and reading all those. I won't write down all the ideas that keep popping into my mind. I probably won't fulfill all of my childish dreams, petty or grand as they might've been. Once I come back from Japan the time will come to set on my college studies, then work, then "life" – its entirety encapsulated in that short, frightful word – and there won't be anymore time or justification for continuing to act like a child. Leaving meaninglessly, for nothing.

Hopefully, by the time I return from Japan, I'd have grown up enough as a person to be able to deal with this more constructively. Independence, both emotional and in practice, is a scary but necessary thing to achieve. What better way than to make it the only way to, for a time, survive? (or at least convince oneself that it's so, rather than there always being the option of hopping onto the next train to Tokyo and from there on a plane back to Tel-Aviv, our dreams shattered upon the alter of cowardice).

Finishing writing, as opposed to starting, has always been a hard thing for me. No matter how much I've written, no matter how much I've said, there's always the feeling that I've missed something I'm going to regret. That at some later point, I'm going to think back to the text and then – "I should've also mentioned… I could've better… Maybe if I'd deleted, and then, instead…".

But texts need their proper endings. Blog posts, as much as any other kind. So instead of a proper ending (didn't we just being?), I'll say this:

As afraid as I am right now, and as worried as I’m, I try not to lose sight of the hope that this trip represents. Or myriad hopes, as it does. Immediate hopes. Hopes for the near future. For further than that.

I hope that it'll be alright. I hope that I'll be fun. I hope that I'll learn something from it. I hope that it'll change who I am. I hope the world stays the same when I'm back.

I hope that you'll join me along, for the ride.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blogging is Hard

My name is Shahar Karni, a twenty three year old male living in Eilat, Israel for the last 18 years of my life. I served my time in the military like anyone else in this country, dropped out of university and generally lived a very quiet life. And now, with the help of my friend Guy, I hope spice it up a bit. This blog will document a very long and slightly stupid journey crossing the length of Japan, the land of Bushido, technology and weird commercials.

It was just a joke at first, and not a very good one at that. I was seventeen at the time and Anime (Japanese animation), Manga (Japanese Comic books) and video games filled most of my spare time, I watched every anime I could find, read any manga that came my way and went to all the conventions, even dressed up in cosplay for the event.
Basically, I was a nerd.
Still am.
That’s when I found a documentary called "Kintaro Walks Japan", a free indie documentary about an American walking the length of Japan to find the birthplace of his grandmother; it was a good watch, good enough to watch three times on that same week. That’s when the idea was planted in my head, "I could do that" I thought, "How hard could it be?"
I'm a talker, still am. I tend to run my mouth faster than my brain can regulate what comes out of it, especially when it comes to ridiculous plans that can't ever come true.
I joked around with friends about the trip, setting it to be my customary "after service trip" most Israelis go on when they finish their mandatory service for the IDF, no one took me seriously, not even me, but with every word that came shooting out of my mouth, the seed sank deeper, planting itself somewhere in the back of my mind, and with time, it grew bigger and stronger, this was not a silly idea anymore, it became a burning resolve.
This is not just something cool I thought I should do, I have to do this. I need to prove to myself that I can. That I have the ability to also do and not just talk. This will become a barrier, separating the part of my life where I talk and the part where I do.
And here we are, almost two years after I finished my military service and exactly two weeks before me and one of my best friends (and co-writer on this blog) will board the plan that will lead us to Aomori, and a start of a very stupid idea turned real.

The plan is simple; after landing in Aomori we will take a bus to Tappizaki Cape, where the trip will officially start. From there we will walk our way back to Aomori and head west towards the west coast of the country, generally walking along it using roads and trails from town to town.  Our first separation from the coast will be around Niigata where will head inland in order to reach Tokyo. From there we will try and hit the other two "must" cities, Kyoto and Osaka and make our first Island to Shikoku in order to complete the eighty eight temple route. When done we will take a ferry to Kitakyushu and walk our way to Cape Sata where our journey will be over.
As you can see this won't be a truly "length of Japan" since we skip Hokkaido, but after considering our time and budget, the choice came and we had to choose between Hokkaido and Shikoku,  Hokkaido will just have to wait for next time.

This blog will be our journal, our proof, and with every stop we will update and share here. follow our progress as we adjust to the new routine, language and culture.