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.
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.