The send-off party at Miki House head office, which Tatsu works for.
Just before the Sakamotos left from Kansai Airport, Osaka.
We have arrived at New Zealand!
Before we left, a good friend of mine introduced to me the Seans, who lives in Auckland. Sean and his family took care of us, and we assembled our bikes, got local information and bought neccesities for the trip. Thanks to him, we can start our 3 month-journey in New Zealand without any problems !
Yoshika, Kentaro and Kojiro, our sons, and I myself are doing OK.
We started riding from Thames, which is about 100 km south from Auckland.
Our final destination of this stage was Dunedin, South Island of New Zealand.
Paeroaから Te Arohaへ未舗装のサイクリングトレイルを33キロ。普通に会話ができない程の強烈な向かい風で自転車に乗ることができず、かなりの距離を歩きました。休憩すると体が冷え、子どもたちもクタクタ。道中、たくさんの牛、羊、馬、野うさぎなど子どもの好きな動物がいたのが救いでした。日本で同じ距離をトレーニングしていた倍以上、所要6時間。佳香も子どもたちも、本当によくがんばった！ （編集協力： TM OFFICE）
We rode on a graval cycle trail from Paeroa to Te Aroha for 33 km.
The head wind was so strong that we were not able to ride our bikes, so we had to walk for quite a long distance.
When we were taking a rest, we were getting freezing.
Although our kids were exhausted, we had a good thing happen to us. They were able to see lots of their favorite animals, such as cows, sheep, and hare.
It took us 6 hours to ride 30 km, which was more than double the training time we had had in Japan.
Yoshika and my sons surely did a marvelous job today!
Te ArohaからMatamata経由でレイクタウポへ向かう予定でしたが、交通量が多い国道は小さな子ども連れは危険とアドバイスを受け、急きょルートを変更。再びPaeroaに戻ってサイクリングトレイルでWaihi を目指すことにしたので、Paeroaまでヒッチハイクに挑戦！始めてから15分、ロキシーというニュージーランド人が声をかけてくれ、なんと自転車ごとワゴンで乗せて行ってくれることに！Waihiまでの走行をすぐにスタートすることができました。
Although we had planed to go to Lake Tekapo via Matamata from Te Aroha, the local people strongly warned us that the route was too dangerous for us to go by bike with small kids due to the heavy traffic. We changed our route to go via Paeroa, where we passed the previous day. Besides, we decided to hitch a car that could take us to Paeroa. Though we had expected that it would be difficult to find a car as we had 3 bikes, panniers bags, and 4 people, only 15 minutes after we left, a New Zealander named Roxi found us and offered a ride with her van. It was just like a miracle. Thanks to her, we were able to start riding to Waihi on our way to Lake Taupo.
We rode a trail for bike riders and hikers, which used to be a railway in the old times. Along the trail, we passed through a one-kilometer-long tunnel with water dropping from the ceiling and, what was worse, with no single lights. We enjoyed the experiences that we could hardly have in Japan due to this kind of safety regulations.
It lightly rained, but my sons enjoyed riding, cheered by the cyclists there shouting “Wow, Great!” or “Amazing!” Also, they liked finding ruined wheels of steam trains and railways. Both of my sons are doing fine!
In the afternoon, the strong wind started blowing. When we were looking for a Waihi camping site, strong winds caused Yoshika and Kojiro to fall over. Although it was on the highway, luckily no car passed along us. A lady named Yolanda, who had seen the accident, came out from the car and helped us. After we told her that we were on our way to the camping site, she kindly said, “It is too cold and windy to stay in a tent. Why don't you come to our house? We have kids, so it is not very tidy, though. My husband is coming over this road soon after his work is done, so he can bring you with your bikes."
We accepted her offer with pleasure. When we visited their house, we found cows, donkeys, sheep, dogs, and fish in their vast land. The house was under renovation and there were blocks, rocks, sand, shells, and carpenters tools here and there, which made our sons very excited. As soon as we got to the house, my sons began to feed their animals, to climb rocks, and to bring sands.
When we told them that we were going to Tauranga the next day, they advised us that we should not go there by bike, especially with small kids because traffic conditions would be bad and strong winds would blow. She again offered us a ride to Tauranga by their truck the next day. The next day, Yolanda, her kids and dog drove us all the way to Tauranga, which is about 60 km away from Waihi.
“I prefer living in Japan.” Kentaro, the elder brother, started crying. It has been two weeks since we left Japan. Even while we are having lunch or dinner, we talk about the route to take tomorrow. For instance, we wonder whether it will be a safe route to ride, whether we can find a supermarket along the route, or whether we can find a place to stay at night. It has not been fun for our kids because we ride everyday and we sleep in different places every night. We stay at one place for two nights at the longest. As we don't bring any toys or children books for our kids, it must be difficult to adjust themselves to these circumstances. Come to think of it, yesterday Kentaro said “I wanted to stay at the place where we slept last night.”
As Kentaro told me that he wanted to eat curry and rice, one of his favorites in Japan, I went to a supermarket and found a curry roux, but it cost more than 4 times when I buy it in Japan!! I wanted to buy two packages, but to save money I bought a canned tomato to cook tomato-curry instead. You can buy one kilo of packed rice for 3 NZ$ (about 250 yen). It was easy to carry, but we finished eating them just in two meals. A take out Chinese noodle costs 10 NZ$ (820yen)! !
On the day we ate curry and rice, we met a 10-year-old boy, named Joexxxxxx (I asked his name 3 times, but I couldn't get it,) played with Kentaro in the camping site. He purposely dropped from a trampoline, dove into a bush when he was running. He made Kentaro laugh so much. Kentaro gradually got his big smile back as Joexxxx played with him from the morning to the afternoon.
We had curry and rice with roasted green tea which our sons liked very much for dinner. They got so excited to be able to drink roasted green tea, which is ordinary in Japan. Both Kentaro and Kojiro ate a lot of curry and rice, and said “Thank you for cooking us curry and rice.” We fully appreciated that we were able to eat curry and rice, to drink roasted green tea, to take a bath, and to go to kindergarten. These are normal things in Japan, but not quite so here in New Zealand. The next day, we cooked curry and pasta with leftovers of the previous day. (Yoshika)