I was born in Osaka, Japan on March 6th, 1970. I started riding a bicycle at age 10 while in elementary school. In junior high school, I became very interested in cycling, also through the encouragement of my father. I cycled, together with my brother, to Kyoto and Nara.
I cycled the 10 kilometers (one way) to my highschool every day and I enjoyed riding and finding new routes with new landscapes and different colors in every season.
While in university, I joined a bicycle touring club and we cycled all over Japan. I did 5 tours in 20 countries, mostly during vacations. But travelling during vacations is stressful because the time is limited. I hated the stress before each trip.
My first foreign trip was during my university-time. Just before I left for Los Angeles, I had been riding to Hokaido (for one month). That left me only three days to collect equipment all over Osaka. All over, because during the summer period, many shops were closed.
I insisted on using Japanese equipment because I believed that it was the best in the world. I managed to complete my preparations on the last day.
The Mohave desert was very hot: I had to stop and lost conscienceness for a moment. Fortunately, Mr. Don passed by and gave me cold water. People who live in such a harsh environment are very friendly. I thank Mr. Don for helping me.
I rode from coast to coast: Los Angeles to New York (5000 km) in 48 days. It was my very first trip outside of Japan and I made my first foreign friends. I was immediately addicted to cycling and making foreign friends.
My second journey started in February of 1991; just one day before departure I found that my luggage rack was broken. During the evening my father and I had to beg a welder to fix the bicycle. I was very afraid I would not be able to leave. I cycled through New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia in one month.
I was deeply impressed by the scenery and the kind people. I found New Zealand especially beautiful. (Total trip: 3000 km.)
The third journey, also in 1991, started in London. A day before the start, I received my bicycle from the repair-shop just a few minutes before it closed.
I travelled Europe and Egypt: during the 6500 km trek, I admired the historical buildings in Europe and the beautiful scenery, the various languages and difference in habits. In Egypt, I contracted dysentery which made the journey very hard.
The fourth journey took place in 1992. My plan was to cycle in Korea and Taiwan, but the airline couldn't book the flight because it was full. One day before departure a seat became vacant and the agent had to take the ticket to the airport on the day of departure. It is always a hassle to start another journey. But I always had good luck leaving Japan in time.
Snow was falling in Seoul and it was very cold. In Taiwan, the food was cheap and tasty. Despite the 1330 km trek, I returned home fatter than I left.
India and Nepal offered 1230 km of very hot, bad roads. In the towns, I was beleaguered by beggars and thieves, on the countryside I met many kind people. The Nepalese people seemed gentler. The distant Himalayan views were splendid.
It was my dream to travel around the world and make many more friends. To see other parts of the world with my own eyes, to meet people in person. To experience the world.
I am not a great planner but I knew I would need at least three years. After graduating from the university (in March 1992 - majoring in economics), I worked at an construction company (which sparked my interest in architecture). I saved all of my money, until I had about US$ 50,000.00.
Finally, on July 23rd, 1998, I was ready. The stress of preparation was great (but only once). Many years have gone by and I am still travelling. I still am not a great planner, but I make many plans.
It is my dream to make one million friends.
I started to ride in Anchorage, Alaska. A long list of places and countries would follow, taking me across all continents. I learnt to speak a few languages. As of 2007, I speak Japanese (of course), English and Spanish. It's hard to tell about myself, but here are a few things:
Nobody does this kind of travel unscathed. Of course, there are the physical ups and downs, like:
The mental ups and downs are changing the way I look at myself and the world.
Remarkable people cross my path: Edmond Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, world reknown footballer Pele, Heinz Stucke (the Guinness world record holder for pedal cycling around the world), Jimmy Carter (ex-president of the USA) and Lech Walesa (ex-president of Poland).
I am honorary citizen of Cajamaruca in Peru, of Paznia, Bolivia, of Upata, Venezuela and of Chisinau, Moldova.
I am slowly running out of money. So, I am looking for new ways to be able to keep travelling. I started selling my stories, my photographs and my experiences. Sometimes for a meal, a shower, bed and a breakfast, sometimes for money (whenever pictures or stories are printed or broadcast).
Most people whom I meet is that they too, want world peace. I figure that my contribution to world-peace will be to make 1 million friends.
I don't know. And I don't want to know (yet)!