Thursday, March 26, 2015

Today's adventure

Spring is definitely here!  This is a fairly close up picture of blossoms.  I was able to occasionally get a whiff of blossoms occasionally. 
This morning I decided I wanted to bicycle to Costco in Iruma.  It is about a 17 km ride one way.  I have bicycled there before, but it has been a year or so.  I decided to rely on my iPhone's map's directions, which was probably my first mistake.  I was remembering the way and came to a spot where I knew I usually turned right, but the directions was telling me to go straight.  I didn't stick to my gut and went straight.  It wasn't nearly as good of a ride.  There wasn't much bicycling space on the road.  I do believe I have been on parts of that road before since I recognized parts.   
As I was moving along, I was coming to the end of the directions, but wasn't seeing Costco anywhere!  The other thing that was happening is my battery on my iPhone died.  That left me using only my instinct.  I did get to a place I recognized and was able to make it to Costco.  I wasn't terribly far off, maybe a couple of kilometers.
One of the main reasons for going to Costco was to purchase a couple of items and to change my membership from the US to Japan.  Membership in Japan is a bit cheaper and actually since I use my card here, I thought I'd switch it to Japan.  Fortunately they usually have people who speak English and I got some help filling out the forms and getting my picture taken.
There it is!
Here's my official card.  I am now a certified Gold Star Member of Costco Japan. 
After paying for my items and packing them in my bags, I brought them to my bicycle and discovered that I had a flat tire.  It would be a 17 km walk back home.  I put my bags in my baskets and decided to start walking, thinking I would probably run into bicycle shop at some point. Remember my iPhone had died, so I was not able to search for a bicycle shop.  One of the things I learned living here, is that there usually is a bicycle shop by a train station.  I ended up walking to the Sayamagaoka station.  I was walking around quite a bit and truth be told, I kind of thought, "I'll just start walking home."  Wouldn't you believe it, as I made that decision in my head, I came to a bicycle shop.  The older man even spoke some English. 
My bicycle in the forefront, it looks pretty full in the store.
It took about 20 minutes.  He found a leak in my tube, put a patch on it, I gave him 1000 yen and was off to bicycle home. 
All tolled, I was gone for almost six hours, had walked/bicycled a total of about 35 kilometers and have a new membership at Costco!  I am very grateful that it was a beautiful, sunshiny day.  I'm also glad I am home.  Ready to put my feet up and watch a movie. 

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