Our #R5K army marches on

O Ja­panese mem­ber Kazuo is on a mis­sion... when his wife lets him out

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - By Matt Wildee SE­NIOR ED­I­TOR

Ja­panese #ride5000miles en­thu­si­ast Kazuo Sakai is our fur­thest-flung mem­ber and he’s bid­ding to clock the 5000-mile mark on a va­ri­ety of ma­chin­ery which in­cludes a Kawasaki Z250, a Honda CB400 four and a Honda TL125 tri­als bike.

Based in Kobe, 57-year-old Kazuo’s home is a mas­sive 5800 miles from MCN’S Peter­bor­ough base but, just like Brit bik­ers, each week­end he makes a dash for the twisties. He said: “We usu­ally go to the coun­try­side for rid­ing. Ja­pan is a moun­tain­ous coun­try, which makes its coun­try­side dif­fer­ent from that of Bri­tain. The routes with­out heavy traf­fic are ba­si­cally wind­ing roads with ups and downs in the moun­tain which make it very en­joy­able. These are all great bik­ing roads. Gen­er­ally, our des­ti­na­tion is a hot spring. Bathing in a pub­lic bath at a hot spring is one of our core cul­tures so even Suzuka and Motegi have large pub­lic baths in their race cir­cuit area.”

How­ever, Kazuo is strug­gling in his quest, thanks to Ja­pan’s ex­treme cli­mate and pres­sure from home; some­thing Brit bik­ers can re­late to as well.

He said: “In July and Au­gust, it was too hot to ride. The sad­dles on the TL and Z are not com­fort­able for a long ride and the CB is too old to rely on for a long trip. In ad­di­tion, in the name of fam­ily com­mit­ment, my wife and my 15-year-old daugh­ter al­low me only a day per month for a big ride.

“Although a lot of west­ern me­dia re­port as if Ja­pan is male dom­i­nated so­ci­ety, the real­ity is com­pletely the op­po­site; at least in my home. So, on that day, I usu­ally go for a rid­ing party on a cir­cuit nearby or tri­als rid­ing on the TL.”

But join­ing the R5K group has opened up Kazuo’s eyes to fu­ture travel. “Rid­ing in Ja­pan is very dif­fer­ent to Europe. Be­cause we are only al­lowed short hol­i­days, we stay within Ja­pan for road trips and when I joined #ride5000miles I was very en­vi­ous of peo­ple trav­el­ling all over the world. It is an in­spi­ra­tion and I want to do the same.”

‘I am en­vi­ous of peo­ple rid­ing all over the world’

Get out of town in Ja­pan and the go­ing soon turns moun­tain­ous Kazuo with the great Akira Yana­gawa Show­ing off con­trol skills on the Zed

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