Everybody falls, and we all land somewhere.

Robert Charles Wilson, Spin.

Among other places, I spent a year in Japan. As my stay came to an end, friends often asked if, or when, I was returning to “my country”, my o-kuni (お国). Each time the question came up, I found myself struggling to find an answer. Indeed after living “abroad” for ten years, I am no longer sure where this “my country” is located for me. So I decided to begin a journey to find out, and to write a blog about it.

My original plan was to take three months off work and cycle the length of Japan, following the blooming of sakura (桜), the cherry blossoms, as they propagate northwards throughout the spring. I had planned the road in careful detail, but then 2020 struck, with the coronavirus pandemic and some more personal setbacks. I cancelled the flight.

So I did take three months off work, but at my parent’s home, in the house where I grew up. During this time, I could have worked, albeit for free, but something in me called for something new. So I wrote Confinés au Groenland, a series in French about glaciological fieldwork in northwestern Greenland, based on my own experiences and field photographs.

“Well, you can always cycle to Japan”, the colleague who drew the gorgeous card above had suggested. When June came and the European borders began to open up again, my bicycle touring gear had been readily packed for three months. So I cycled out of my door to Belgium. And then to my grandparents in the French Ardennes. And then to friends in Switzerland. And then on.

The blog’s title is inspired by the novel by Alaskan writer Lynn Schooler Walking Home, a novel about glaciers, photography, and Japan, incidently. I decided to write in English although it is not my first language, so please excuse grammar errors and shortcomings. I speak French, German, English, a bit of Swedish and Japanese, maybe still some Vietnamese, Python, photography and the language of love. Feel free to comment in any of these.

Cycling east across Europe

View my complete cycling route at ride with GPS.