I am thinking of riding my bike across Shikoku, catching the ferry to Oita and continuing down to Miyazaki. I have enough time as we aren't leaving for Tanegashima until August 12th and I have no work from the last week in July. I think my bike can do it, even though it isn't a proper road bike. I think I can make it. I have been doing small test runs over the last few days. Today I tried the cycling road that runs from Kyoto to Nara, I was trying to find were it deviates and you can continue south to Osaka. It isn't a very well marked trail. About 9km south of the cityI was stuck on top of the levy, looking down through the underbrush at the cycling path, which had reemerged from somewhere. I was contemplating picking up my bike and running down through the bushes, like I had run up earlier, when a giant, fuck-off snake went across the path right in front of me. It had to be about 6 feet long so it probably wasn't a mamushi. I am pretty sure it was a Japanese ratsnake. I am not particularly frightened of snakes but I had that weird moment where you can't figure out what you are looking at.
I grew disenchanted with the bike path and rode north to Arashiyama. I really can't understand it, the Katsura river, along which I had been riding, is just as beautiful south of the city as it is to the north, but the corresponding neighborhoods are only nice near Arashiyama. There is all of this ridiculously gorgeous real estate that is consigned to nasty factories and ramshackle, tin houses waiting for condemnation. As much as I hate American development, I would like to see someone raise the neighborhoods to the level they should be. Those around Arashiyama are beautiful. Everyone deserves to live in a nice looking neighborhood.