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Akemashite omedetou gozai masu!
A happy new year!
How was your winter holiday?

I'm in Los Angeles, USA right now.
This is the 4th and final year of my "world trip". Before I continue to
South America, I send you this short newsletter with some pictures
attached.




Last year, I visited Tibet, Nepal,
Bhutan, Thailand, Laos,
Yunnan(China), and Vietnam before a temporary stay in Japan.
In those Asian countries, I rode most of the time in the mountain
regions. Lots of differnt tribes, lifestyle, food, customs, costume,
ect. The diversity was just amazing!

I spent hectic 10 days at the end of August in Japan, to prepare for
winter in North America. Meanwhile, I enjoyed yummy home
made Japanese food that I had been missing for a long time! (I had 3
years worth of "unagi no kabayaki(eel)" at a time and it made me
sick...)

I flew into Anchorage, Alaska in September. Hitch-hiked to Denali
National Park and Fairbanks area. Hitch-hiking was a good change from
exploring the country by bike. I've met real nice people on the way and
got many local stories. Oh, I observed auroras, too!

It was the beginning of long, cold and dark winter when I hit the road
to Canada by bike. I cycled down to Hains, Alaska, thru Yukon
Territory(Canada). Alaska Highway was partially covered with snow and
ice. Wolves, coyotes and moose were often crossing the road. No worries,
no grizzlies attacks, they were already sleeping.

I crossed the misty fjord and temperate forest along the coast by
ferry, as there is no road connected. Then I entered to Canada again
from Prince Rupert. I fixed my bike in Prince George, got studded tires,
and went on to Canadian Rockies.

Unfortunately, in the middle of the Rockies, I developed a sore knee. I
guess it was because of the cold temperature(sometimes minus 30 degree
C) and mis-positioning of the bike seat.
I had my knee treated at a good physical therapist in the cozy town of Canmore, near Banff National Park. It took me about a month to be healed, but as a means of rehabilitation, I could enjoy some cross country skiing and snow shoeing! Yahoo!!

Since it got too late to keep riding along the Rockies(it was going to
be a blizzard season), I ended up flying from Calgary(Canada) to Los
Angeles on the 28th of December, where I was supposed to be at that time
on my schedule. Against my will, I was not able to cycle quite a few
parts of North America...

Now I'm ready for the next stage, to South America.
My original itinerary was to go down south from Central America, but
I've completely changed it. I start from the tip of the continent, and
go up to Central America. So I'll be leaving for Argentina soon by air
with my bike and all the equipment.

I'll try to keep you updated of my itinerary, but e-mailing from South
America could be a bit difficult. Upon returning to Japan after I
complete this trip by the end of this year, I'll write you again.
I'd also very much like to hear your news if you have a chance to
e-mail or write me.

Please stay in touch!
Lots of love,
Tatsu Sakamoto

PICS:
1, Paro Tsechu (mask dance at a yearly festival in Paro, Bhutan)
2, school girls in their uniform (Bhutan)
3, "me" with Bhutanese family (in the national costume)
4, Wat Si Saket(Laos, Vientiane)
5, with a Tibetan monk (Yunnan Province near Tibet Autonomy, China)
6, a Vietnamese cyclist ("361km to Hanoi", Vietnam)
7, Alaska Highway on a sunny day
8, Yukon Territory in November (Canada)
9, June 1998 (Can you see my bike behind me? Laos)





E-mail me to: tatsu000@104.net
Thank you!

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