This hill might not look like much – in fact you can barely see it on the GoPro but it’s enough to take me out given that I’ve… given that I’ve done 40 kilometres – this hill is gonna be my undoing. Good morning guys, and welcome to Journey Across Japan, cycle to the death, Day One. It’s now ten thirty AM – did oversleep a little bit – and the cycle will shortly begin. I thought, first things first, I’d introduce you to the team. I do have a team of three people joining because I figured cycling across Japan is one thing but being able to try and film it every single day and make a daily vlog I needed some kind of help, so I’ve got a few people to kind of help it happen – turn that idea into reality – and here they are. Chris: This is Wenbin!
Wenbin: Oh, hey. He’s from China! Wenbin, what’s your favourite thing in China? Mm… Dumpling? Dumplings, brilliant. This is Chris… He’s from America. If you could sum up American culture in one phrase what would that phrase ben? Home of the free Land of the brave – nope, wrong way. And last, but not least, this is Ian
Ian: Hello. Chris: He’s from the UK. What’s your favourite thing in the UK? Uhh, clearly the Queen. So, this is the bike guys. We’ve modded it out, we’ve got a GoPro here so we can films things on the go, a bell – very excited about using that. The seat on this bike is like a rock – I sat on it for 30 minutes the other day and then I couldn’t sit down the whole of the next day, so I’ve got this like air-pocket, cushion thing… Which is nice – feels really nice – feel that, yeah. And I’m gonna sit on that and hopefully I won’t be in agony after a few days. It’s also a mountain bike, not a road bike, you might’ve noticed because the tires are nice and thick – I wanted a bike that wouldn’t get punctured, and these, these tires here – look at that, bullet-proof, bullet-proof tires, nothing’s gonna cut through that. Famous last words. But yeah, it’s an awesome bike and I’m looking forward to getting on it in a minute. You may have noticed, there’s actually another bike, here on the back of the car. This is for people that are gonna be joining me on the cycle. There’s about six or seven different people who are gonna be joining throughout this journey, various other vloggers, entertainers – all sorts of people, and our first person… We’re gonna meet him now. He lies just behind this door Who could it possibly be? Oh, it’s Natsuki. [Natsuki (slurs): Hello.] Hello. Morning! Chris: Morning, Natsuki.
Natsuki: Mmm, good weather It is a good weather, yeah. [Natsuki: Yeah.] Are you wearing cycling pants? Of course. Chris: Are you cycling, are you actually cycling? Noooooo. Gimme my helmet, Natsuki. [Chris laughs] Justice… Pumpkin style. Pumpkin-style helmet. Safety. My friend Ryotaro chose this for me, so don’t make fun of my in my pumpkin helmet. Terrible start to the cycle: can’t even get my helmet on. ‘Cause my necks too big. [Chris makes stragled noises] [Natsuki laughs] No, this is way too tight! Oh my god. There’s been a huge development! Natsuki wants to come on the cycle! He’s actually gonna come on the cycle, he’s changed his mind. Somehow, for some reason. Notice how his helmet looks way better than mine. You’ve got… You’ve got a really cool helmet. Cool helmet Not cool helmet. Natsuki: Not cool. Pumpkin cool! Pumpkin cool. So, today we start leg one of our journey to Kagoshima. Leg one takes us from Sakata, in Yamagata prefecture, to Niigata City, in Niigata. And for day one, we’re travelling south to Atsumi Onsen the hot spring town fifty kilometres south of here. GoPro’s on: I now declare this 2000 kilometre cycle open! [Rings bike bell] Let’s go! Yeah!
Natsuki: Let’s go! [rings bike bell] Kagoshima. I still… I still can’t believe Natsuki’s actually on the cycle. Chris: Weyyyy! We’re about 5 kilometres in and Natsuki’s just stopped for a quick… a quick cigarette break. How do you feel, Natsuki? Good feeling! So the first time Natsuki’s done any exercise in… 10 years? Yeah maybe 10 years. Chris: 10 years!
Natsuki: Nice exercise. Chris: Nice exercise.
Natsuki: I’m feeling so good! Do you think it’ll change your life? Maybe change a life. Chris: Yeah.
Natsuki: I have a new hobby! Chris: Cycling.
Natsuki: Cycling. [Chris laughs] His new hobby. 10 years, no exercise… all it took was a 5 kilometre 10 minute cycle and his life’s already changed. [Chris laughs] Chris: How do you feel? Chris: You’re hip is burning? Hip… Hip broken. [Natsuki groans] Are you ready to cycle the next 10 kilometres? Noooooo. I give up! Chris: You give up?
Natsuki: Yeah. Chris: Already?
Natsuki: Yeah. I like… Car. [both chuckle] I think my erstwhile companion is is given up already. So Natsuki’s actually gonna drive ahead for the rest of the… for the rest of the day and I’m gonna cycle now. So Chris: Lucky boy.
Natsuki: Lucky boy! [laughs “yeah!”] [both laugh] About to cycle round the edge of a mountain and once I do that I won’t be able to see this anymore. That’ll be it – this is the very edge of the Shonai Plain – this whole area I called this home for my first three years in Japan so whenever I get to this bit – this spot I always feel a little bit emotional because this is the very edge of my spiritual Japanese home I’m also quite happy that I was able to switch helmets! Because Natsuki’s not cycling anymore, I was able to steal the cool… the cool helmet… as you might’ve noticed. So now I don’t look like some kind of construction worker. I been waiting for you! [Chris laughs] Oh! [both laugh] There goes my foot. I just fell off a rock, and my foot went in the water – it was actually quite refreshing – but could’ve gone a lot worse if my ankle had gone the wrong way it could’ve been just the worst possible start to this trip ever so… kind of relieved, to be honest. It’s about four fifteen now; we’ve got an hour to sunset and sixteen kilometres left to go, so I must admit the pressure is on a little bit but we’ve done thirty-four kilometres and I do feel… dunno. What’s the phrase? Overwhelmed with endorphins. I feel something I don’t normally feel. I think it’s maybe because I just fell in some water and it’s an adrenaline rush from that. This is rather picturesque though. Natsuki in front of Hakusanjima – nice little island. If at any point on the trip you’re wondering where we are, where we’ve stopped off there is an awesome website where you can find out where we are and what we’re doing every single day. I don’t have a sponsor on this trip, not a single sponsor. I don’t have GoPro or a water company sponsoring this – I should’ve done. I… I’m pretty stupid, to be honest. But what I do have is the support of my network, Tokyo Creative, and as well as sending this lovely film crew along to help capture every single day and help film it, they’ve also got an awesome website where every single day of the trip, we’re charting where we’ve been, what we’ve done, who we’ve met – it’s all there on the site for you guys to check out. I mean, we don’t actually have a plan – like, tomorrow, I don’t know what could happen, but every single day we’re gonna log what we’ve done and you can check it out on the website: TokyoCreative.com. And a huge thanks to TokyoCreative for supporting this entire trip… you know, that’s… that’s pretty bloody generous to be honest. Back to his car. Damn you! [both laugh] Bye bye, Chris! Bye bye, Natsuki. Thanks, Natsuki. [Chris sighs] [Tune plays] [Chris shivers] [Tune continues] At 5 PM in Japan they start playing music like that to notify people working in the fields – like farmers – the day is over. [Chris sighs and chuckles] It’s played at a rather precarious time as well: I’m facing my first hill… my first major hill. And I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die… Right here. Shit. This hill might not look like much – in fact, you can barely see it on the GoPro but it’s enough to take me out given that I’ve… given that I’ve done 40 kilometres… This hill is gonna be my undoing. This is it; this is the spot where I die. Right here on this crappy hill. I must admit, though It could be worse – I do have the most fantastic view at the moment of a volcano. Mount Chokai on the horizon – look at that! I’ve really got to hurry up – it’s getting dark very quick. Come on, let’s finish this! Shit. Don’t judge me, but I am running up the hill with the bike. Times like this… you’ve just gotta be pragmatic. You’ve just gotta do what needs to be done to finish. Go, go, go, Chris! Yo!
Chris: Only another 10 kilometres to go! Fucking bastard. [Natsuki laughs] Chris: I hate you! Natsuki: Yes! I’m waiting… otherside. I don’t believe this… My bike light, which I’ve only just put on 10, 15 minutes ago – because it’s now pretty dark – it just died! 10 minutes after I switched it on it died. I don’t know why. It’s supposed to be fully charged so… Yeah, now I can’t see. Damn you, bike light! You only had one job to do and you failed! I’m not gonna lie – I can’t see a damn thing. This is absolutely terrifying. Huh, what’s that? That’s the station! Shit, we’re there! We’re there, we’ve done it! [Congratulatory music plays] [Chris pants, music continues] We did it! I did it! Fuck, well I’m exhausted, dehydrated, I’ve got mild heartburn, but I did it! I cycled A hundred kilometres… Or whatever it was And and… Ah fuck. Where’s Natsuki Chris #2: Natsuki?
Chris #1: Where’s Natsuki? Chris #2: Back at his salon. He did… What? What?! He didn’t even come here? Chris #2: No. Oh flipping… Ohhh… I thought… you know, I pictured… arriving Astumi Osen, this little village, the townsfolk would be cheering; there’d be Natsuki there with a beer… No. Just a silent carpark with a… with a nothing. [Chris #2 laughs mockinly] [Chris groans heavily] Okay guys, so it’s dinnertime and there’s, awkwardly a spot where Natsuki was supposed to be just awkwardly just kind of at the end of the table, sitting there uhm, I feel quite, ’cause they prepared this wonderful, decadent dinner for him and he’s not here because apparently Natsuki’s boiler exploded. Of course, one pretty big upside to Natsuki not being here, and that is I’ll be able to take all his food. Especially the sashimi. Yeahhhhh! [Chris converses in Japanese] Gotta make my own bed, after all that? 50 kilometres of cycling Ugh… [Chris exhales] If I was to rate my… the achiness the achiness of my legs on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a 3, actually it’s not too bad, but I do feel thoroughly exhausted. What I will say is I’m pretty happy. I see today as a proof of concept… day. You know? There’s forty-something days left in this trip. But the fact that the first one went pretty smoothly, other than Natsuki’s boiler exploding, I’ve learnt that today went really well and I’m pretty happy. And I thank you guys for joining me. Tomorrow, I’ll unveil something really awesome that’s gonna make the trip all the more exciting and probably a little bit more crazy as well. So, sit tight for that. But, for now guys, no matter where you might be watching out there in the big wide world, thanks for joining me on the first 50 kilometre leg of the journey, and hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow. Night night. The weather forecast promised us sunshine. What an absolute lie that was. 500 million dollar weather satillite and it can’t even get the weather right. What a load of shit.