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'I'm trying to clock my 5000 miles in Japan!'

Published: 13 October 2018

Updated: 12 October 2018

Japanese #ride5000miles enthusiast Kazuo Sakai is our furthest-flung member and he’s bidding to clock the 5000-mile mark on a variety of machinery which includes a Kawasaki Z250, a Honda CB400 four and a Honda TL125 trials bike.

Based in Kobe, 57-year-old Kazuo’s home is a massive 5800 miles from MCN’s Peterborough base but, just like Brit bikers, each weekend he makes a dash for the twisties.

Get out of town in Japan and the going soon turns mountainous

He said: “We usually go to the countryside for riding. Japan is a mountainous country, which makes its countryside different from that of Britain. The routes without heavy traffic are basically winding roads with ups and downs in the mountain which make it very enjoyable. These are all great biking roads. Generally, our destination is a hot spring. Bathing in a public bath at a hot spring is one of our core cultures so even Suzuka and Motegi have large public baths in their race circuit area.”

However, Kazuo is struggling in his quest, thanks to Japan’s extreme climate and pressure from home; something Brit bikers can relate to as well.

His TL and Kazuo

He said: “In July and August, it was too hot to ride. The saddles on the TL and Z are not comfortable for a long ride and the CB is too old to rely on for a long trip. In addition, in the name of family commitment, my wife and my 15-year-old daughter allow me only a day per month for a big ride.

CB400F on Japanese winding road

“Although a lot of western media report as if Japan is a male dominated society, the reality is completely the opposite; at least in my home. So, on that day, I usually go for a riding party on a circuit nearby or trials riding on the TL.”

Kazuo with the great Akira Yanagawa

But joining the #ride5000miles Facebook group has opened up Kazuo’s eyes to future travel. “Riding in Japan is very different to Europe. Because we are only allowed short holidays, we stay within Japan for road trips and when I joined #ride5000miles I was very envious of people travelling all over the world. It is an inspiration and I want to do the same.”

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