It says Niigata a lot in today’s title. That’s because Niigata is a pretty big prefecture and it took a fair days riding to go from one city to the next. There’s not too much between Joetsu and Niigata except some fishing ports and drift covered beaches.
The beaches are not what you would call idyllic. The general scenery is beautiful; ocean, sand, cliffs, mountains. But Japan has a fondness for pouring concrete on everything. Concrete walls ran the length of the beach to protect the road during a storm. Concrete breakers lay in piles 30 meters out to sea. Concrete cliff faces have replaced rock that May have been dangerous to the passing cars beneath. There’s concrete everywhere in Japan and, for me, when I first arrived it upset me. But you learn to live with it and eventually you just don’t notice. You see the beautiful parts of the view and ignore the ugly brown wall running into the water.
So I enjoyed my ride up the coast. The sun was shining but the air was cool. I stopped for a swim and the water was the perfect temperature. And clear too.
Niigata is a suburban sprawl. It’s main streets look like any in small town Japan but they’re a lot larger. The neighbourhoods go on and on and the streets of restaurants, book shops and arcades last for ever. With my bum tired and grumpy I reached Geek House.
The door was open so I popped my head in and gave a quiet ‘konnichiwa’. Haruhisa shuffled out of the shadows to greet me.
‘So, do you live alone?’ I asked later.
‘No, no. There’s 7 of us.’
It’s now 11.40 and I’m staying up with my new housemates to watch Germany v Portugal. But, alas, no Game of Thrones. Don’t tell me what happens.