Quit our jobs, sold our home, riding around the world!!!

Dale had to take off to go to work, and we thanked him for the warm welcome and for all the information.

Dale rides a Yamaha, naturally! MT-09 Tracer!

We asked one of a bunch of Japanese ladies passing by to take our picture. After she did, the group of ladies also wanted to take our picture. Well, not of us, just of them and Neda! It seems that a gaijin girl on a motorcycle is quite the curiousity in these parts, same as I was in Latin America! :D

I took a shot of them with my camera as well! Neda towers over most of them! :D
We rode out of Kitakyushu, heading east across the bridge back onto the main island of Honshu. The road we're on takes us through Mine City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This plateaued area is called Akiyoshidai and is littered with thousands of limestone karst formations on the ground around us. Very scenic!

Stopping to take some pictures of all the rocks

The visitor centre at Akiyoshida

There is also a 9-km long limestone cave nearby, it's the longest one in Japan. The first km is open for tourists but there's an entrance fee which we don't want to pay. Because paying to hike a kilometre is just insult on top of injury. They should be paying *me* to go hiking! :)

Plus these cool-looking rocks are free and we're riding around them on motorcycles. No hiking involved!

Carps, blowing in the wind

Further along the way, we cross a bridge and see dozens of these carp-shaped wind socks blowing in the wind. These are called koi-noibori and are usually put up to celebrate the national week-long holiday called Golden Week, where the whole country goes on vacation. It's similar to Ferragosto in Italy, which we had the misfortune to run into.

Golden Week starts in a couple of weeks, so this time, we're going to try to finish up our Japan tour before the holidays begin because it'll be impossible to find accommodations while on the road since everyone has booked their hotels and ryokans months in advance, plus there'll be heavy traffic jams all over the islands!

Congestion around the big cities in Japan is bad enough normally, I can't even imagine how bad it gets during Golden Week!

Fellow two-wheelers on their daily commute

OMG, we're such tourists!

As we get closer to our destination for the evening, we come across this huge shopping centre that's decorated with all the traditional Japanese imagery. Kimonos, paper lanterns, pagodas, etc. But it's obviously a tacky tourist trap! We love it! So we stop to walk around and revel in all the Japanese kitsch!

Tourists in Japan

Sun is quickly setting as we walk around the Japanese tourist trap

We're close enough to the next town that it won't matter if we ride back in the dark. Wouldn't be the first time... Might be kind of cold though...

It's difficult to Samuraiz all our experiences in Japan, but I'll try to Cut to the chase and get the Point across.

Perhaps the pun is mightier than the sword?

Hopscotch over sakura petals floating on the pond

This guy must be a motorcyclist. He offered to adjust my rake and ride sweep/size]

Those patio lanterns they were the stars in the sky

Browsing through all the tourist trinkets for sale under the coloured lights of the outdoor shopping centre

There's even a temple behind the shopping centre. With a golden cardboard buddha cutout! :)

And of course, the line of requisite vending machines

We've stayed out way too late and now we have to find a place to sleep. Neda checks online to find nearby accommodations

It's after dark as we pull into a suburb on the outskirts of Hiroshima. We find a youth hostel, that's a bit more modern than the ryokans that we've been staying in lately.

It's typical budget accommodations, dorm-style rooms and shared bathrooms. Good enough for the 10 or so hours we'll be staying for!

This is the common area, the Japanese kitsch continues! :)