Japanese schoolboys, accompanied by their parents, are in the middle
of a trans-America trek on mountain bikes from New York to San Francisco,
an adventure covering a distance of some 5,000 kilometers in two-and-a-half
Sixth-grader Yuji and fourth-grader
Koji set out on the ambitious journey from New York City on June 7,
with their father, Osamu Sekiguchi, also on a mountain bike and their
mother, Takako, driving a camper where they sleep at night.
This is not the first time that
the Sekiguchi family has been on an adventurous trip in the United States.
In 1997, they were the only Japanese family among some 300 people that
participated in a 100-day journey in covered wagons to follow the path
of early settlers to the frontier.
Yuji and Koji enjoyed that adventure
very much, not bothered by the language barrier in fooling around with
American kids. But they confessed they had "gotten tired of walking,"
sleeping under the rain-soaked tent and not being able to take a bath.
The boys said they were a little
surprised when their father told them of the bike journey plan. "But
we're ready now," Yuji said before leaving Japan. Their mother Takako
said the boys should be able to handle the challenge much better than
the 1997 trip. "They have grown up very much since then," she said.
The family left Tokyo on June 5,
about a month before summer vacation starts for most kids in Japan,
expecting to return home around August 20.
The boys are carrying 100 illustrated
books of old Japanese tales, written both in Japanese and English. They
plan to give them to American kids they become friends with while traveling.
The planned course of their journey
takes them, among other places, through the Midwest prairie region,
the deserts of Utah and Nevada, and over the Sierra Nevada mountains.
They plan to cover 100 kilometers each day. The boys know how to fix
flat tires and carry out regular maintenance of the bikes.
The boys are to file regular reports
on their journey to 10 elementary schools across Japan via e-mail until
their trek comes to an end around August 12.
You can read their diary on this
Photo: Koji (left) and Yuji (right) are ready to take
on the North American continent. (Asahi Shogakusei Shimbun)