Bilderverkauf aller 50 km / Pictures on Sale every 50 km

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First here is our new mobile number in Russia for everyone who want to contact us:

007 9140670152

the 7 in the beginning could be also an 8.

I wanted to update the Blog all the time but the final date the 24th of April was approaching faster and faster. Well I did not tell you yet but finally we got a ferry ticket were we can go together with the car on the same ship, which is more preferable since we can observe the car and in Vladivostok we can pick it up next day. I am still little bit sad that we could not visit our friend Yung Sun in Seoul by choosing this way.

Every day I was working at the car inside and outside, building a strong second roof carrier for the two spare tires, setting up a third battery for the power converter and building inside additional tanks of 150 Litre diesel, 100 litre water, something like a shelf for our stuff and especially the tones of Japanese food we bought. In the night we normally met friends to say good bye, which is for Kotomi quite hard since she do not know exactly when she will see them again. But at least most of them promised to visit in Germany and I hope they will come.

Everyday I was going to the do it yourself shop. Everybody around our home knows us now and they visited every day just to say how sorry they feel and that it is so hard. I always said it is interesting and it is indeed. At my work I basically sit in front of the computer have to use my head only, but this time I have to use my hands and my head, that is actually much more fun and I can see how something is crowing, you can see the progress step by step. If you are programming and doing research you can see your progress on the paper or at the screen or in some numbers, it is not really something you can touch even if you are happy that you succeeded. Anyway here is the result of 3 weeks work, still a lot of things fast and dirty but I hope it works out.

Finally we started at the 23th at 3 am in the morning without any sleep having 10 hours drive ahead. Since Kotomi just made her manual driving license she did not want to drive in Japan, which means I had to drive all the way until Fushiki at the west coast of Japan where the ferry will start. Actually it is only a distance of 360 km, but half of the way we do not used the highway which means you have to stop every fuuu… 50 meters at a traffic light. I had to stop several times since I got really tired and had to stop in the morning o sleep for a while.

We managed to do all the custom stuff, loading (actually 5000 Yen) and then we went by train to Kanazawa to meet our friend Shoko San from Tokyo at John's house. Here we enjoyed to see this really nice and huge family (around 25 people).

At 24th we went together with Shoko San and her kids back to Fushiki where the Ferry started. The ferry was almost empty that means we were really lucky that we could get this ticket since they may not go if they have fewer passengers. The first contact I got was the ship entertainer Jury which is around 50 years old and he explained me that this is the last Russian passenger ship of former 15 ships. The Russian "business men" sold all the others to countries like China, Australia … around the world. That means he is the best entertainer on Russian passenger ships since he is the only one (:). Basically he lives on this ship which is actually called Rus. He is buying Japanese stuff in the yahoo auction and preferably the older stuff since this stuff is most robust, the new things are made in China and the Russians do not want to buy. He showed me a camera he bought in his room and at the same time I saw a Balalaika, the Russian guitar, I just looked at it and he gave it to me as a present. Even so the car is to full Kotomi wanted to take it on the journey. That means now we have it with us. The 24th we were quite tired so we went to bed early.

At the 25th the sea got really rough but still some guys who called their self "small mafia" invited us to eat pineapple with them but finally it was Vodka I had to drink, where Kotomi was smart enough to say she can only drink a beer. All of them were car dealers and they rent the room on the ship for one year. Anyway after that the sea got even rougher so that the best was to be just in the bed. But I wanted to ask Jury if there is any problem to import the GPS to Russia since some web sites said it is forbidden and some said it is allowed since 2008. Anyway I could not find him but my stomach told me that it was not a good idea to move around, which results in a throwing up session at the toilet. After that I just slept and was happy that the "small Mafia" did not come again to ask for more party.

At the 26th in the morning we arrived in Vladivostok, where a friend of Kogure San Valerie, picked us up and bring us to a cheap (in terms of Vladivostok) Гоцтиница. Two person !400 Rubel which is around 30 EUR at least at the rate from today. Since we still need to do the custom and this is not open on Sunday, we have to wait until Monday to do this horrible bureaucratic stuff, but in Russian. Valerie told us he will pick us up at 9 next day to do the custom stuff together with a friend who has already done this. We walked around in Vladivostok at a really sunny Sunday (:), had our first Russian beer and piroschki. The houses around the harbour are in old European style and it is quite nice to see. But outside the centre you have the grey Soviet Union buildings which we also have a lot in east Germany.

27th this day was the custom day, buying car insurance (4600 Rubel for 4 month), the rest of the day we were driving between the Tax office and the car which is around 3 km away from the tax office behind a fence, always one more document was necessary or a signed copy of a document we just made a minute before. This trouble is only related to the fact that we "import" the car by ship from Japan, it will not be so difficult when coming overland from Mongolia for example. I really hope this is true (:). Anyway finally we got the car our home for the next month. And now the shock for the help with the custom Valerie wants to have 200 USD. Welcome in Russia I have to say. We read in the Internet before that some say you should take a agent to do the custom stuff but this will be around 50 USD. We still have to discuss with him this price since this is really too much.

28th is the day of the alarm system and buying stuff we could not buy before we left Japan. Valentine the friend of Valentine who did the custom stuff was really worried about our car since it still looks like new the small mafia likes it and at current time how it is now it is easy to still since it has no alarm system at all. So after sleeping first night in our roof tent around 25 km outside Vladivostok at a nice place with view to the ocean we went to a small shop were Roman build in the cheaper variant of the alarm system for 2500 rubel. But with some ideas from me and having the 3rd battery in the car we could make it almost as save as the 8000 Rubel alarm system. Anyway nothing is safe but it is at least not only a 3 minute job anymore to steal the car.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

A short break, ... Hanami (Flower watching), Drinking, Chatting, Eating a natural, Cultural event in Japan

From Sakura
The pictures are especially for my friend HU in Germany (:).

Since I came first time to Japan in 2005 I was always to late to see the cherry blossom and to join the festival called hanami (flower watching). The nice thing is that the white with flowers with a touch of pink flowers are in contrast to the black tree. The Hanami is celebrated from everybody from young to old, unemployed to bussiness man. Sometimes even the whole company joins the event under the cherry trees. It looks nice but unfortunatelly the trees will never have cherry to eat (:((.

This year I was lucky and can do both watching and joining the hanami party, just after finishing the roof carrier still having color at my hands from the painting. We started drinking early having the idea of playing badminton, it is quite funny if you are not so stable at your feets anymore. In the night we made a small fire and Shoko San one friend of us with her two kids, roku san, Guitar no Joe, and Kotmomis family joined.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Picking up the car and buidling the Roof Tent Carrier

So last week we pick up the car in Tomioka and had to go to Nagaoka which is at the west coast close to Nigata. Here we got our new japanese license plates for the car and the "international car registration certificate". But they told us we can not drive in germany, Mongolia .. with this certificate, since Germany and ... did not sign the Geneva contract !!?!?!? Ok anyway this week we found out we have to translate the japanese car certificate to german (5000 yen), and getting certificate of the German embassy (2500 Yen). Mongolia is the same, but we do not need to use a professional translator. Kotomi will ask her mongolian friend to translate and the mongolian embassy will certify. After we picked up the car we went to Nigatta to visit a friend I call him always Mr. ChinChin, who was working close to Kotomis shop before. Last year I went with him to snowboarding so it was nice to meet him again. Actually he lives close to the place where I had a conference last year. We had some really delicious fish and of course some beer and a lot of talking I could not understand (:). Next day we went to Kotomis friend where she has her adress now. From there we take a road through the mountains back to Tokyo with really nice views of snow mountains. Driving in the mountains is rally nice, few cars, no street lights every 50 m, much better to drive than the roads close to coast, where you just stop and go stop and go.

From Picking up the Car

From the car dealer I got two old roof carriers. From one I could use at least the 6 stands and just need to construct the bars. So the last 4 days I went everyday to the "Do it yourself store" to buy screws, metal bars, antirust color and so on. Sawing, filing, drilling and so on, all the stuff I learned from my father and the good old east german education system (:). But the reall problem was how to get this fu... heavy roof tent on the car with the height of 2.10 m. Well all other people where at work, Kotomi is to small and had to go to driving school (because she still do not have the manual driving license). So I did something Japanese would never do, I just asked the neighbour and asked my friend Yamamoto San (the friend who helped already with picking up the rooof tent from the harbour). 3 people and everything went fine. Finally I get to know all neighbours, some provide me with electricity and some just give me a hand. Most of them are happy to help since they are retired and are bored to death. For example my neighbour comes out of the house every 30 minutes smokes a cigarette. He look quite bored, as he do not know what to do after smoking. This is basically related to the japanese working culture, mans have to work every day bring the money home and the free day they have they drink or sleep. Anyway now he always comes to me just checking what I do next with the car and at least now I can see some life in his eyes. I amazed that most of the old people can speak quite good englisch and if not with my few words , I still can understand that from the one guy the garndfather and mother were studying 80 years ago in Germany, and the other made a business in Germany in the oil industry. I found out that I already now more than Kotomis mother which lives here alredy 10 years (:). Anyway maybe they think what a weird Gaijin (actually word for american foreigner) doing everything naked, but still it seems that they enjoy the conversation and it seems there not so strict as Kotomis mother always thinks. I am not sure if this is only because I am foreigner.

From BuildingTheRoofTentCarrier