Chasing the cherry blossoms

By Lowell Sheppard

Ten years ago, in spring 2000, Lowell Sheppard began a seven-week, 3,000-kilometer cycling adventure from the southern tip of Japan to its most northerly island. His aim: to discover insight into the heart and soul of Japan by following the Cherry Blossom Front as it progressed north. The Cherry Blossom is a powerful symbol of hope in Japan and forms the core of a remarkable diary. He chose a great setting to explore the soul of a nation in economic, social and spiritual transition.

Follow his journey here.

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There is a great book about hitch-hiking through Japan following the cherry blossom front called 'Hokkaido Highway Blues'. Probably one of the funniest and most accurate portrayals of Japan and its people I've read.

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Cherry blossoms always bring rain. This guy must have been soaked all the time.

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It is time to take advantage of global warming once again.

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so this guy hitchhikes around Japan and he is "chasing the cherry blossoms"? Instead of hitchhiking around Japan for fun? He is a great man. I cannot imagine the deep insights he gets while waiting on a freezing night in a cloud of diesel. None of us can imagine the deep insights into Japanese culture he gets getting picked up by truckers and cleaning under his arms in a "service area".

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I have read Hokkaido Highway Blues too. It is a funny whirlwind two trip around Japan. Chasing the Cherry Blossom, is a slow, bicycle speed, journey.

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Getting soaked while riding a bike isn't as bad as it seems. I rode all the way around Biwako lake with friends last summer during that typhoon (we couldn't change the dates) and it was a pretty fun experience. All we had were cheap ponchos that kept our gear dry and swim trunks for the obvious precipitation.

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