Ah yes, the Blogorollo updates are still coming in thin and slow. Although things may be quiet just now, I can promise that March will be the month of Blogorollo as I make every endeavour to make daily updates as I cycle my way up Japan. And to that end, I have been chopping and changing plans like no-one’s business. For starters, I can’t see myself getting any further than Tokyo before jumping on a train back to Sapporo. I’ve had the good fortune to be offered more hours at the university so although I’m still part-time, I’ll be there four days a week. Because of this, I’ve decided it’s probably not a bad idea to give myself a little time to prepare for all these classes so I’ll aim to get back to Sapporo in early April and get ready for the start of school in the second week of April. Hmm – I just had a look at a calendar and I can’t say for sure which week the second week of April is – could be the week starting on April 8th or April 15th. Let’s hope it’s the 15th. In any case, if I give myself a month to get to Tokyo, there shouldn’t be any need to rush. This has also led to my planning becoming a bit more vague. Although I’m pretty happy with my route through Kyushu, after that I might just take into account how far I’m travelling every day and just see where I get to. If I’m really lucky I’ll get to Tokyo when the cherry blossoms are out and I can spend the night getting drunk with complete strangers in Ueno Park.

Out in the wider world, Fumy Beppu watchers will be aware that he has now changed cycling teams and is now back in the fold with Lance and Johan at Radio Shack. I imagine Lance as Dan Ackroyd and Johan as John Belushi, visiting former Discovery Channel riders and telling them they’re getting the band back together. I’m not sure whether Fumy was working as a maitre d’ at a flash French restaurant or frying up soul food but either way he was clearly persuaded to return to the fold. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t as easy as throwing an apron at Aretha Franklin (in this analogy Aretha Franklin is Skil Shimano) and clearing off because he still had a year’s contract with Skil Shimano who probably weren’t all that keen on Japanese cycling fans suddenly changing merchandise purchasing loyalties to Radio Shack. Fumy was given the level of support that Lance and Johan usually only reserve for Alberto Contador and was allowed to solve his problems himself. In the end, he had to buy himself out of his contract with Skil Shimano and he is now furiously tweeting images of himself in Radio Shack uniform.

But at least he’s managed to stay out of Lance’s massive Black Book of People who have Dissed Me. This book includes Filippo Simeoni who testified that Dr Michele Ferrari had helped him dope. Unfortunately for him, Ferrari was also Armstrong’s doctor, so Lance had to put him in his place by chasing him out of a breakaway. Alberto Contador is also in Lance’s book for pointing out after last year’s Tour de France that he didn’t like Armstrong:

You tell him Lance.

And now Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters is in trouble for saying “In 2009 … Astana were soft-pedalling a bit to not embarrass Lance [Armstrong].”

Lance never forgets and never forgives.

You can see why Beppu wouldn’t want to end up on Lance’s bad side. I can only hope this blog is too insignificant to come to his attention or my life won’t be worth living.

But enough about them, let’s talk about me. As ever it’s cold outside and I’ve been up to very little beyond checking the weather in Kagoshima where it is 21C right now. In contrast, it is -2C here at the moment. So I’ve been mostly huddled in front of the heater these past few days but Kaz and I did leave the house to have a look at the Snow Festival now that it has properly opened and I’m pleased to give you the following photos of it:

Yes - real fish and crabs. I wonder if they'll cook them up later on?

Beware the wrath of icy Gundam

You're not really flying.

Dragons or something. And another crab restaurant.

I think this is a club for secretaries. Where they can buy soap. Perhaps.

Hanging out in the ice house.

Animals!

There's that one again. It was jolly crowded this time.

The Royal Palace of Baekje.

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