Sea defences 


We slept the wrong side of this wall which are being rebuilt and extended all along the east coast of Japan. There are tannoys everywhere in all the towns to announce 7am, 9am, midday and 5pm. Initially this felt disconcerting, as if we were being told to get up, start work, eat lunch and then to finish the working day, but we quickly realised this was to reassure everyone that the tsunami alerts systems were in place, working and ready to let everyone know when to evacuate to higher ground.

Everywhere the road signs indicate when you are in a low lying tsunami risk areas. Heights from sea level and distances to the coastline are marked with a graphic of a breaking wave incase there’s any doubt about what’s being communicated.

Masonori Ota


When we stopped for more coffee and cake at a Seven-Eleven in Yamada I’d asked the cashier (mimed) whether I could plug in my phone for a cheeky recharge. The answer was a ‘no’ so I forgot all about it and went outside to refuel on my purchases. Then this lovely man came up to us and gave me a battery operated phone charger, spare batteries and bag of salted lemon sweets. I’d no idea you could buy the first of these items and he refused adamantly any payment from me. When asked ‘why’ he simply pointed to the sea beyond and said ‘tsunami’.

Selfie 170517


This is ‘the morning after’ selfie as we rode 141km to reach our campsite on the north east coast of Honshu yesterday and were too busy pedalling to remember to snap a shot. 

The coastline was badly devastated by the tsunami, evidence of which we saw in the dimming light with nonexistent towns and roads that our paper maps were describing. Everywhere there is continuing reconstruction. 

We ride northward following the coastline for the next four days.