Sumio Goto

A fantastic artist who we stumbled across as we headed south from the north of Hokkaido to Sapporo. This is ‘big’ pigment painting. Layers of colour layered with a kind of glue, not water, across a canvas which needs to dry before the next wash is applied. They can literally take years to finish with the artist having multiple pictures on the go for prolonged periods until completed. The colours are staggeringly good, vibrant and zinging out of the canvas.

‘Sweets’ from Sapporo 

The ‘Central’ department store contains five floors of stationary, artist materials, pens and paper, calligraphy equipment, a printing shop and cafe. I spent ages just looking at the Japanese water colours – Gansai Tambi – before making a selection. They are renowned for stunning colour pigmentation and for being long lasting. The new watercolour papers are 70% bamboo and at a size closer to A4 rather than the A6 and A5 I’ve been confined to.

For the bin

The ‘Specialised’ top, bought in Perth, has survived remarkably well although much faded and about to disintegrate after 10 months of riding.

The ‘Swrve’ shorts are the second set and have lasted 6 months through both NZ and Japan. They’ve become really grubby and nothing seems to wash the filth out.

Both have been excellent kit and I’m both sad and overjoyed to be saying ‘goodbye’ to them!

After a year of riding

I’m little changed really. 

There’s definitely been some loss of ‘puppy’ fat. We’re both much fitter and able to plough into headwinds all day and to keep moving at around 18km/hr. A year ago we could never have managed this speed or level of endurance.