Kintaro & his Amazing Walk

You may be wondering why I’ve suddenly rediscovered my love for blogging. It all started a few months ago with the season premiere of Amazing Race 9. I took an instant liking to the BJ & Tyler duo. It could have been the vertically striped Orange corduroy. I’d have a corduroy wedding dress if I could. And corduroy pajamas. and corduroy shoes. Ahhh….corduroy. More likely, it wasn’t the corduroy that won my heart. It was the team’s attitude. They seem like people who are actually really happy to be alive. They are breathing in the world around them. Smelling, tasting, touching, hearing and seeing what life has to offer. I wish I had that kind of joy rushing through me. I did at one time in my life. Watching this team has given me hope that I can rediscover those feelings inside of me. Of course, I realize that Amazing Race is all about the editing. Tyler and BJ are often described as clowns or hippies. However, I see them on a fool’s journey. Now that might seem derogatory, but is really a compliment. If you are familiar with the tarot, you know that the journey through life is referred to as the “fool’s journey”. Both Tyler and BJ have embarked on this quest with a child-like exuberance. They’re spontaneous, playful and open to experience. They have the inner strength to stay positive when their path on the race is unclear and ridden with obstacles. They’re true to themselves and at the end of the race they’ll know they followed their own truth and made a new path for themselves. I’m also impressed by their respect and reverence for the places they visit. It seems they usually try to learn a few phrases of the language spoken in the area. They treat people nicely wherever they go and in turn, things work out for them. Karma.

Over the weeks, I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper to know where BJ and Tyler come from. So last week, I did a little seeking and found the website www.kintarowalksjapan.com
In 2004, Tyler walked the entire length of Japan. Starting from the southern tip of Kyushu all the way to the northern tip of Hokkaido. Sugoi!! More surprising, Tyler had made a documentary of his journey. I quickly used my paypal and ordered a copy.
I lived in Japan from January 1999 to August 2000. I lived in Matsuyama, Ehime for a year and Ube & Hofu, Yamaguchi during the summer of 2000. I miss Japan terribly so I jumped at the chance to see a documentary from the perspective of Tyler.

I got to watch the DVD two nights ago. I LOVED IT! As enjoyable as it is to watch Tyler, I was equally impressed by his girlfriend Ayumi. I later found her blog online. She seems to be a down-to-earth, humourous, and altruistic soul. I would say they are a perfect match!

I think I might email Kintaro (Tyler) about his travels. I want to know his experiences walking through Matsuyama. When I came across the Kintaro Walks Japan website I vaguely recalled a Japanese friend telling me that some American Gaijin was walking across Japan. Now I wished I had paid more attention to what the friend had told me. Did she meet him? Did she read about it in the local newspaper?

I try to imagine what Tyler’s journey really must have been like. My walks through Japan consisted of walking a bridge in the humid July heat to an island where we had our fair share of okonomiyaki; my weekly 15 minute walks to the video store that ended up taking hours because I’d have to stop and admire every crane, rice paddy, lotus blossom, and dragonfly along the way; and rushing through the open air malls on my way to meet with friends. If I could have been a fly on the outer wall of Tyler’s backpack, I’d have been in my glory!

So, after viewing this documentary, I googled Tyler’s website and came upon his girlfriend’s blog as well. Reading her entries, I decided I should blog again. It’s good for the soul. Anyway, I’m babbling…again. I guess that is the point of blogging, right? Mostly I just want to say that living vicariously through the journeys and successes of others inspires me to follow my dreams however faded and unclear they have become.

Thanks Kintaro and Ayumi. I needed to rekindle my fire. 🙂

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