[YEAR 7!] Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

And then further on, we see the same figures in silhouette on the road. Is this a special thing in Tokushima?

Upon closer inspection, these two figures were everywhere, on store windows, posters, etc.

I looked up "Awa Odori" on the Internet and discovered that Tokushima is the site of an annual music and dance festival, held at the end of every summer.

Legend has it that in the 1500s, a feudal lord sent sake out to all the villagers to celebrate after completing construction of his castle in Tokishima (which back then was called Awa). The villagers all got drunk and started stumbling through the streets in a haphazard fashion.

From then on, every year people danced on the streets in drunken fashion. There's a specific dance movement, which requries raising your right arm and right leg, then your left arm and left leg, exactly like those figurines found all over the city.

The Awa Dance. Not my pictures. Taken from the Internet

These days, hundreds of dancers will take to the streets dressed in colourful costumes. Tens of thousands more come from all over the country and the world, all to take part in the annual drunken dance. Because it's not enough just to spectate. During the dance, everyone chants in Japanese, "It's a fool who dances and a fool who watches! If both are fools, you might as well have fun dancing!" HAHA! So cool!!!

Just like the huge Fire Festival in Kumano, we are slowly finding out that Japan is home to dozens of these crazy festivals held all over the country at various times of the year. We've now made it a mission to see and take part in at least one of these over-the-top festivals during our trip. It's the next item right after Neda's "Cherry Blossom Festival" on our Japan bucket list!

That was an excellent rest day in Tokushima. We're off to explore Shikoku now!
Celebrating today with our sporadically annual tradition of cake and candles!

If you had asked us when we first set off on June 14th, 2012 where we thought we'd be in seven years time, I doubt our answer would be: "Still riding around the world on motorcycles!"

The last couple of years have been a tumultuous roller-coaster of ups and downs, wonders and tribulations. Sending a big thank you to everyone who's following us and left us a comment or sent us an e-mail or PM, supporting and encouraging us as we continue our journeys around the globe.

It's made us feel like we're riding with a whole bunch of folks on our back seats, looking over our shoulders and sharing in everything that we're seeing and doing!

Love you guys,
Neda and Gene!



Neda and Gene, I found this site six years ago. I had just bought a Jeep and my dream has always been to live a go-anywhere, see-everything lifestyle. That hasn't happened for me yet, but following your adventures has been the next-best thing.

Wishing you both happiness in your lives, and for purely selfish reasons, hoping that it's like the old cowboy serials where you ride off into the sunset only to return in the next installment with even greater tales to tell.

Thanks! Even though the rest of us are following from our computer screens, it has indeed been quite a ride!


Paperwork Specialist
Have Fun, enjoy yourzelves and many, many more birthdays on the roads- where they lead you !!


New member
I'm not sure if they realized, but we were really picking their brains on how to live in Japan. Because we really like it here and had a million questions like how hard it was to learn the language, how accepted you are as a foreigner, etc. Nori told us that it is a very closed culture, and not just for gaijin. She was born here but upon her return after a few years working abroad, she was treated very differently, not as a nihonjin - 100% full-blooded Japanese person - anymore.

She said that the expectations for foreigners are very low. They just presume that you're not going to be as smart or as hard-working as a futsu-no nihonjin (term for "ordinary Japanese person" meant in an exclusionary manner), and that her years living in Singapore pretty much branded her a lazy gaijin when she returned. Also, Japanese culture is very patriarchal, and that they don't treat women as well here as in other more progressive countries.
This is referred to as 'nihonjinrin' and is kind of the belief of Japanese that they are 'unique' and direct descendants of the deity Amaterasu.

Thanks so much for your inspiring trip. I followed your trip for a long time then, well - family. I just searched Japan on the forum as we just returned from our fourth trip and your thread again. YAY!

I thought this photo of Fuji reminded me of someone...

Last edited: