Golden Week Bike Trip: The Power of Teruterubouzu (てるてる坊主)

“Golden Week” is a week in late April/early May consisting of four national holidays (Apr. 29: Showa Day, May 3rd: Constitution Day, May 4th: Greenery Day, and May 5th: Children’s Day).  Due to this rare number of free days, many people in Japan turn the week into a vacation.  That is precisely what my friend David and I did for Golden Week 2015.  As this year’s Golden Week is coming up quick, I’ve been reflecting on the last one and have decided to write about it.

3550Two days before my Golden Week bike trip from Niigata to Okayama, the custodian at school introduced me to teruterubouzu.  Teruterubouzu are little paper doll things that, traditionally, children would make in hopes of good weather.  Since I was about to embark on a 10 day bike trip, she made me one!  素敵。I made two more after work (one for me and one for bike buddy David) and then slept through the thunder and rain, heart excited and fingers crossed.  

In the morning, I packed up the teruterubouzu, gave them a silent but heavy お願い and headed out.  It was raining…

After school, my 40+km ride to the shinkansen station ended up being probably the rainiest bike ride of my life.  It was pouring.  Wind was blowing everything sideways; me, the bike, mud and countless tiny but painful rock-like raindrops.  Sadly still fender-less at the time, I got drenched.  Off to a great start. 

My shoes, clothes (through a supposedly waterproof jacket), backpack and all of its contents were soaked.  Surprisingly though, it was a non-issue.  Either I had somehow grown accustom to the ridiculous Tsugaru weather or I was just so hyped on adrenaline and anticipation that I didn’t care. 

After changing clothes, folding up the bike, putting it in a bag and carrying it onto the shink, I was mostly dry and on my way to Niigata! 

Surprise, it was raining in Niigata too, and David had had just as delightfully miserable a ride as I did.  I definitely still believe in the teruterubouzu though!  Little did we know on rainy AF Day 1, but the next ten golden days would be filled with nothing but great times and incredible weather.  ありがとうね!

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