I feel terrible in updating you all so late, but guess what!?! I finally arrived!!!! And to be honest, now that I’ve arrived, I’ve been meeting so many friends and rushing around the place that I’m more tired now than when I was walking 😛
So, I’ve officially arrived in Sendai. and I had a group of 6 friends that I met some 6 months ago, and news reporter, now a good friend of mine, that walked into Sendai Train station with me – my final destination.
My entourage – some of my wonderful support bringing me safely into Sendai and guiding me to the train station. It was wonderful not needing to check my map, and letting the crew navigate me as I walked 😛
Together we walked the final 8kms of my journey, and gradually nudged closer and closer to our destination. I was interviewed while we walked and enjoyed having so much company after a very solitary last few weeks.
I don’t really know what to say, because the whole day really passed with a blur. I’m still in disbelief that my adventure is over, because in reality, my adventure is continuing still everyday, having the conversations I have, being touched by the people I meet, and just enjoying all of the wonderful opportunities that keep coming my way.
The arrival – I sprinted about 100m towards the finish line, but slowed down to turtle pace before reaching the station, recognising that all of that effort has now brought me to my destination. I felt a little surreal arriving at the station, because I very well know my adventure isn’t over. If anything, I’m just halfway through. The sign behind me says: “Welcome to Sendai’s Tanabata Matsuri”.
Changing the signs on my bags from “Walking from Tokyo to Sendai” to “Walked from Tokyo to Sendai”.
I had such a massive smile on my face as I arrived. I was elated. I could stop walking! (Little did I know that within a days I’d be missing the adventure and excitement of walking in one direction, no plans, and just seeing where the road takes you).
And indeed, with that announcement said, I’m still here in Sendai, wandering, searching for interesting information, studying and chatting to people, hearing their stories, and doing my best to absorb it all in a second language! But heck it’s been bloody good fun! And I’ve made it into a few newspapers across the country ^^
Asahi Newspaper – Published on the 7th of August – http://www.asahi.com/area/miyagi/articles/TKY201308060448.html
A rough translation: At around 1pm on the 7th, a 22 year old from UTS Australia named Aaron Morellini with goals of walking from Tokyo and arriving for the Tanabata festival arrived! YAY!!!!
Together with 7 others from the Kizuna project, an accumulation of students from Miyagi University, etc, he walked the final 8km.
In front of a sign we together made in March of this year, Aaron said “I’m so glad that I can be with everyone again”.
Aaron left Tokyo on the 16th of last month, walking through Ibaraki and Fukushima, talking with people about the tsunami of 2011 and walked 450km in 3 weeks. 4 days earlier, Aaron experienced his first earthquake, 4 on the richter scale. After that he began to understand what the Japanese feel living here.
After he goes back to Australia, he plans to translate the conversations about the tsunami he has had and wants to communicate it to the people of Aus.
Yomiuri Newspaper – 7th of August
A few sentences are about my journey:
One person, with aims of the beginning of the festival, Aaron Morellini, 22,over 3 weeks walked from Tokyo, through places such as Fukushima.
“By walking through the affected areas, I’ve began to slightly understand the suffering the people are going through” he said, and after going back to Australia, he is going to communicate his learnings of Japan’s current situation to Australians at his university, etc.
Ibaraki Newspaper – Around the 5th of August
“I’ve just met a gentleman from overseas, can he stay with us?”
All of a sudden in the evening, I received a phone call from my son who is studying at TAFE. We had a conversation about how there was a foreigner walking across the from of his workplace.
“Can he speak Japanese?” “What would be good for dinner?” I had a lot of insecurities about his coming.
In Japanese: “Good evening, my name is Aaron. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Carrying a large bag a big smile, as soon as he greeted me, my anxieties disappeared. “Please, help yourself to a shower. Please relax and make yourself at home.” was able to speak with him quite normally.
Aaron is a university student in Australia, currently on his winter vacation. He is currently walking from Tokyo to Sendai for her Tanabata festival, sleeping in his tent as he travels. He wants to personally see the affects of the tsunami and will travel up to Iwate to volunteer and help with the tsunami recovery.
Through a variety of conversations, our world just became a lot larger. Thank you Aaron. Do you think he’ll be able to arrive for Tanabata?