Men behaving badly.
Prime Korean food and emergency massage treatment from pros, at the same time. Couldn’t ask for more!
Some Japanese girls can drink hard.
This isn’t even a supermarket.
Don’t be a standard family. Turn your standard family people-mover into a STYLEWAGON! It’s how it’s done here.
Osaka from the top.
Can you see it?
This is actually the ground at night with glowing rocks.
Osaka’s high-rise with a hole in it. It’s pretty high.
Hawaii in Osaka
Hawaiian imports in Osaka’s centre.
Who needs a pram when you have a suitcase.
Aki-Chan impersonating Yakuza.
Another domestic critter I found today. Might be past his used-by date though.
From the other side.
Esquina, the regular hang-out, is getting worked over!
English Study or Life Study?
Hanamary and Atomu ‘learning’ at Esquina.
Strawberry and Lemon
A good combination?
Daigorou’s Ayatori skills on display.
Nogu cranking the BBQ, Jap style, in a secret location.
The RNZ party crew.
Akamine & Osamu San
Akamine San the photographer and Osamu San the car body expert in Osaka.
The neighbours waving goodbye.
Help me out Nilo?
OK, get the car down.
Japanese Bug #2
Another native critter. Apparently they bite.
Lupine know how to smash it. I wasn’t smiling after the ride.
It was great to be back to Kameoka with the boys, who are all going faster than ever.
Konyo catching up on the latest.
Drinking this stuff wasn’t exactly pleasant on the palette.
Akashi San and Akashi Chan preparing the snake and venom sake. It stunk like road kill and tasted as bad.
Finding Inari in our race shorts 😉
Niki San doing the hard yards into the night.
Canned goodness (or badness)
A cold can of weak coffee, crappy milk and loads of sugar. Just what you want 30mins before a race!
The first hot day for summer was a bit of a shock to the system.
Shuhei doing what he does best.
Wide enough Ken?
Ken’s about 3 foot tall, but his bars are about 3 foot wide.
Tools of the trade
Niki San has it all and manages to always get our bikes running perfectly, on time every time!
Turbo Shoe (Shu) Box
I won’t show you the car this was on. It resembles a tin box.
It never ceases to amaze me how much the Japanese like their piles of tiny plates and bowls.
‘Stamina Ramen’ – the dinner of champions (Shuhei our photographer needs his energy).
Getting up to the race course was a challenge in the team van. Wheel spin for most of the way up, less rubber by the top.
Watching a cycling anime movie in Daigorou’s van. Handy in traffic jams these things.
La Esquina Otravez
Back at the spanish-cycling restaurant – Esquina, Osaka
Sachiko and Takeguchi working hard in the kitchen, while Motoji and Noguchi write dodgy emails.
All happy to be here for some gourmet dining and English-Japanese slang language exchange.
Back in the big smoke (smog). The bright lights and traffic of Osaka’s edge.
Heading down the shops on a scooter with dead suspension, down 25% roads. Good times!
Piling them up
Nogu’s car park. It’s like a giant electronic puzzle getting the car out.
100 yen per item, our local bakery does the trick at the end of a big ride.
A stable of damn expensive bikes.
The boys already feeling it?
Like a glove
Bike setup and tweaking complete.
The biggest slice through a tyre I’ve ever seen. Lucky Bata San had a spare tyre. Who carries a spare tyre around!?
Lawson Takarazuka Bunch
First ride back in the Takarazuka bunch.
Back into the thick white toast and drip coffee. Hmmm…
Hanshin Tigers Bike
My new 6 Series roadie with new Dura-Ace. I didn’t think the Madones could get even better.
Back in the comedy workshop with Motoji and Bata.
I won here last year, with good form, nice weather, on a great track and big UCI points. This year was the same, except for the form. Fresh off the plane and a long drive, it was a bit of a grovel. But it was good to be racing here again!
Bontrager’s new tyre range is way better in 2010.
Mochi with my team mate. Unfortunately missing Takenouchi this year, as he’s in Belgium racing road.
The early season setting up is always a chore.
Group ride before the race day.
A scary sight, heading into the steepness.
Kicking back with the boys.
Sharp new rigs for this year. Better than ever.
The first-race tension on the start line is always there.
I only led for a while, before my lack of fitness showed up.
The crowd was massive at Yawatahama.
My favourite berm.
Manualling over the lumps to keep it down. There wasn’t much rest on this course.
Lightening up for the steep climbs ahead.
The camera isn’t tilted. This pinch is insanely steep.
Cleanup operation. The Japanese make it easy.
Niki San and Shuhei talking shop in the cabin.
Shuhei the monkey man photographer.
I missed my inari. The best snack around.
The Prod – Use #1
Our new prod, handy for passing drinks (in or out of races).
The Prod – Use #2
Also good for prodding, of course.
Back in the Konbini
Back at the Konbini for the first time in 6 months. Nothing’s changed. Still convenient.
And what do the boys go straight for every time?
Legs anyone? What the hell is this?
From Nogu’s new place. The weather isn’t so inviting right now though.