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Darren's Travels To Japan

Japan was the start destination of my round-the-world trip and I was there almost six months. I arrived in rainy season Tokyo on 30th June, 1992. After a week in Tokyo, staying with a friend, I hitch-hiked North to Eastern Hokkaido, a village called Tsurui-mura, which is about a half hours drive North of Kushiro. I stayed at a commune there until late October, doing a mix of farm work and English teaching. Then I headed West to Sapporo, where I first did a home stay then stayed with another family and worked in their construction business for a week.

The night before I started hitch-hiking South was the first snow of the year in Sapporo. My goal was Kyushu at the other end of Japan. I made good progress and moved quickly South - with winter at my back - to Tokyo. I lingered a few days there enjoying the relative warmth, then to Mt. Fuji, Kofu, Matusmoto, and across to Toyama. I then stayed a week with a kind family I met while hitch-hiking, then on to Kyoto, where I stayed at a religious commune called Ittoen for a bit over a week.

I left Kyoto on Dec 9th, and was on the road for the next two weeks, travelling to Himeji, Matsue, Izumo, Yonago, Hiroshima, Yanai, then to Fukuoka, Kyushu where I met up again with Susumu-san, a doctor who I'd known in Hokkaido and who had moved to Fukuoka to get married. Then on to Nagasaki, and around Kyushu, then through Shikoku, on to Wakayama, Nara and arriving in Nagoya on December 21st where David Kluge (an English professor who I'd met in Hiroshima) had invited me to his Christmas Party. Then I hitch-hiked overnight to Tokyo, to catch my plane to Australia on December 23rd.

Next Stop: Australia or Back To Index.

List Of People I Met

Allan Suter
Isamu Abe
Noriko Sudo
Helene Rinaldo
Claus Seibert
Susumu Sawano
Nigel & Bella Turnham
Fumi Saito
Shodo Kawabe
Jackie Brydon
Ian Foster
Yusuke Kimura
Avi & Tal Ron-Carmel
Masaki & Mutsuko Hattori
Yasunori & Chieko Hattori
Tatsunori Hattori
Kazunori Fujii
Shuichi Yashiki
Hideki Takesako
Inagaki Takao
Choji Ninomiya
Rokuro & Kazuko Kagoshima
Seiichi Yamanoi
David & Toshiko Kluge
Laura Blasi
Hisae Onodera
Manami Makino

Here is an incompete list of people I met during this time. Some were deep friendships, some were people I only knew for a matter of hours.

Some people gave me a lift, some gave me food, some even took me in and gave me a bed for the night. All were generous and all taught me something or inspired me in some way. Some taught me directly, some by example, and some by making me realize where I lacked in skills, experience or personality (polite way of saying they slapped me in the face and called me a loser; but it is okay, the sting has nearly gone now).

If you knew me during this time please get in touch: I'd love to hear what you've been doing these past dozen years. I'd also love to see photos you have of yourself (or of me, or places where we met, for that matter) from when I knew you, and of yourself now. (With photos please let me know if I can post them on a public web site, or on the password-protected web site, or if you'd rather I didn't put them anywhere on the web.)

Best way to contact me is email to Put "Travel" in the subject line to help get past my (sometimes over-zealous) spam filters. For people who get in touch I'll give a username and password to the full photo albums.


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Last updated: 16th Dec 2006, © Copyright Darren Cook, 2004-2006.

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