Another mechanical 


Just as we left Kyoto and we’re about to climb the maple tree hills away from the city Yasmin’s rear gear cable sheared again. 

We luckily found Vigore cycles and Saiichi who was able to help us with the tools to pick out the cable nipple head from the brake lever shifter. It took three tools to push it out and another two to then grab it. Like fine surgery we had to use medical tweezers to make the final extraction. Saiichi’s shop was actually not open until 1pm but he came out to help us, loaned us the tools and advised us about the route onward to Hikone. 

The refitting of the new cable I was then able to do. It was the spare I’d bought in Perth, Western Australia, after the last time it had broken and had been carrying ever since. 

Thank you Saiichi for your kind and friendly help. We’re now back on the road. 

Shinobu!


Finally, we make contact again with Shinobu and meet up this time in Kyoto. 

We visited the wonderful Nishi-Hongan-ji temple complex, caught a cab to the Maruyama Park where we had a picnic she’d brought from Kobe, walked through the Chion-in Temple, the Gino district, helped us do some printing, and then directed us to the Kizuki restaurant for sushi unlike any other. A perfect day.

We really hope to see her soon in London. Thank you Shinobu!

Mr Inoue


He saved us – literally picking us off the road after Yasmin’s accident and being attentive over several days to make sure everything was alright. Not only did he do this but he was funny, joking about the ironing he was doing whilst his wife and family were away on holiday, teased and flirted with everyone we met, introduced us to his father-in-law who helped transport Yasmin’s broken bicycle at the age of 80 and gave us a small gift of Japanese snacks to fuel our onward journey. What a man!

We are already thinking about what we might send him from London as a thank-you gift when we return in October.

This is us at Nishikicho Station as we said our final goodbyes this morning.

Shinobu 


I have a post to write about meeting Shinobu who we met in Hagi at the Ruco Gesthouse where we were all staying. We spent the most amazing morning with her which I’ll write about more fully shortly. 

We see lots of people posing for selfies next to the cherry blossom, the ‘sakura’, so we did the same. 

She borrowed a bicycle from the guesthouse and showed us around her grandparent’s town.

Portrait of Helen Hitchings – 1950


This photograph, minus my and the gallery’s reflections, was taken by Bristow Mawley. It is of Hitchins who at 29 opened an art gallery in Bond Street, Wellington, to show works by her artist friends. The caption to the picture at the Te Papa art gallery quotes her as saying:

Somewhere we have lost feelings, and our intuitive and imaginative senses need stimulating again… we are mainly occupied with tasks that make no demand on the imagination…

We need desperately to feel and handle things ourselves… as a stimulus to our own self-expression.

A quote that could equally apply to now and anywhere rather than to 1950’s New Zealand.