Friday, 19 August 2011

70. Going solo

In the original plan, before Buddhist lucky charms had their wicked ways, Ellie and myself were to be joined by my cousin Mark in the first half of our Tour de Nippon, from Tokyo to Osaka via the Japanese Alps. A mysterious leg infection had already hospitalised Mark in Denver before Ellie and I had crossed the Pacific and he had to cancel his travel plans a few days before we were to meet. Two Sundays ago, Ellie and I loaded our bikes and followed Hiromichi and Yukiko, our hosts in the Shibuya area of Tokyo, who I had contacted through the Japan Cycling website and who had very generously put us up for several days and fed us all sorts of wonderful Japanese dishes, along the busy Roppongi-dori on our way out of Tokyo. Coming downhill beside Shibuya train station there was a moment of indecision about whether we could cross a junction and we all had to brake unexpectedly and Ellie's front pannier caught my rear while, twisting her front wheel sideways and sent her into an arc over the handlebars and down onto the road, breaking her fall with outstretched hands but still hitting her head, her helmet saving the brain surgeon from too much work. Unfortunately, however, bad news was confirmed in the nearby Ohashi hospital when the xrays taken of her arm revealed a radial head fracture near her left elbow. There was initial discussion about surgery being required but on subsequent visits the senior orthopedic doctor determined that a splint and possibly a cast for about a month followed by phyiscal theraphy treatments would be sufficient.

Yukiko and Hiromichi very generously gave us back their house key as they headed off on their annual holidays and in contrast to our first busy week applying for our Chinese visa and cycling all over central Tokyo, our second week was spent either reading, sleeping or watching one of the many DVDs on space exploration that Yukiko's friend had thoughtfully loaned to us. Both myself and Ellie feel qualified now to pilot any of the Apollo missions blindfolded. After a few days of discussing our options and doing battle with insurance companies, it was decided that rather than waiting here in Tokyo for Ellie's arm to heal while our recently issued Chinese visas were ticking away, Ellie would return home to sunny, riot-ridden England to mend for a month or two, while I continue on through Japan over the next month, before crossing into South Korea. I wonder what the Foreign Office travel advice would have been for England if the trouble were in another country!

And all because we failed to pay proper heed to the fortune that Ellie received at the Zojo-ji buddhist temple the day before the accident, that was largely very positive except with regard to travel, where it advised to "Try another time"!

Zojo-ji temple and Tokyo Tower in the background

Tokyo, Japan
Distance pedalled: 48,160 km

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