One Man Walking

2008-07-10 Sign Language

July 10th, 2008 · 4 Comments

When pointing out one’s self in a conversation, for example “I am going to buy this”, the Japanese point to their faces, or more exactly their noses, while westerners point to their chests.

I'm Nut sure what this means 

A long and winding descent from Asahidake Onsen this morning. The weather was good and I briefly considered taking the cable-car back up to get the clear view, but I’m north-bound now and tomorrow may be rainy where I’m heading today. I spoke to an old man sitting beside his motorised scooter.
“Where have you come from?”
“Cape Sata, south”
“Where are you going?”
“Cape Soya”
“Soya! Wow, good times!”
Bear in mind that I’m 88 days from Sata, and a week from Soya. I think he didn’t understand my first sentence or chose to ignore it as the ramblings of a wandering foreigner. The other option is he simple doesn’t know where Cape Soya is. I’ve found that a lot. While every New Zealander knows Cape Reinga and The Bluff as our boundaries, and every Briton knows Land’s End and John O’Groats, the northern and southern capes here just aren’t noted. Perhaps because there are more southerly islands. Okinawa is where Chris started his walk. Kagoshima ken (district/prefecture) is well know though, so when Sata brings blank stares I use that.

When saying something is forbidden or can’t be used, for example “the mountain path is unusable”, the Japanese flatten both hands and cross their arms at the wrists, making an X.

800m is very important   Nostalgic Square 

A little while later the man silently rolled past me on his scooter, the engine strangely not running. I met him at the next town where he’d been waiting in the shade for me and gave me 200¥ to buy a drink from the vending machine. Yes I’m back in, to borrow a phrase from FourCornersOfJapan, convenient land. He wished me good luck and returned to his still quiet scooter.

To show a number greater than five in Japan, first spread the digits of one hand, like a westerner would to show the number 5. Any extra digits needed from the second hand are placed on the open palm of the first.

I drank the cold grape-flavoured fizzy drink as I walked along the now flat road. A car slowed beside me and the old man I’d just met waved from the back seat. He offered me a ride but wasn’t surprised when I said I only walk.

Extending one’s little finger signifies ‘girlfriend’, I think. But I’m not sure when to use it so I won’t.

Parking Park   Forest of the 21th Century 

At the “Parking Park” I was approached by a lady in a black t-shirt sporting an army-camouflaged New Balance Logo. She (Murokochi-san) and her husband (going by the nickname Don) are touring the country in their mini-van, which as she pointed out is their hotel, restaurant and tour bus. While talking over maps they gave me food and drink and we took some pictures, each happy to have met an interesting traveller(s).
IMurakochi-san and Don 

Word of the day: yu-ki = bound (as in I’m Wakkanai bound)

Distance today: 47 km

Trail Profile 2008-07-10 

hiking  ·  photo

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Denis // Jul 13, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Most New Zealanders may be able to say that the end of the country is at Cape Reinga, but how many of them can spell it? Note that Craig referred to Reinga as one of New Zealand’s boundaries, dodging the trap of incorrectly calling it the northernmost point. That title belongs to North Cape’s Surville Cliffs, 30 km east of Cape Reinga.

  • 2 Peter // Jul 13, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Perhaps he recognised Sata but assumed you’d travelled by other means and were just walking to your final destination a few blocks away or something (so Soya was a shock).
    Prompting might have got me Land’s End, but I didn’t know about John O’Groats.

  • 3 Peter A // Jul 16, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Best post so far. Love the tidbits of non-verbal translations.

    Does that mean that when the power rangers articulately gesticulate… they aren’t just looking super happy fun time awesome, they’re actually saying… hey bad guy… that is forbidden!

  • 4 Levi // Jul 22, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Love the “A Nut” picture… and the unmistakable face that goes with it… ;) “Good Times”

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