Get a goal in your life



Getting ready for the 88 Temples of Shikoku Pilgrimage

As a Yes men when I received the invitation to travel to Shikoku Island to do a pilgrim I just accepted, then I thought a little bit more about it and realized that only in the fifth day I’ll have to ride a bike for about 7 0km and that was just after another four days of ups and downs in the mountains and sea side.
To be honest I had toothache for few days and felt a little bit homesick and I blame me being nervous about the trip, I haven’t ride a bike for long distances in long time ago and it was a few times in Taiwan with a maximum of 80 km on a day, but besides that I have overweight and shamefully out of shape so I decided to start doing some biking around the city, living in the downtown means I’ve to ride for about 15 min to get to a straight road where I can ride without having to stop every corner.
It is nice! Besides the cold weather and having to use gloves and jacket the sight is great, biking by the riverside or the seaside is great! We have trained once and the last Sunday BBQ can count as a short training.
Two days ago I went to a city nearby carrying my backpack with about 10 kg, not a long ride, maybe 25 to 30 km but it was the first time carrying some weight besides the beers of last weekend.


This days I’ve been taking care of the morning shift so just some exercise in the room like jumping jacks, squats and some abs exercise for the core, hopping that this will help to increase my resistance and to be ready for the trip, is just 10 days from now.

Banana soy milk coffee

 I love coffee, back in my Past Life I used to go really often to coffee shops specially Starbucks, sometimes before work I just grabbed a coffee and breakfast there and was the only place open before 6 am or after hours, the prices in Mexico are way cheaper that here and besides that I was getting an income so spending some pesos in a coffee wasn’t big deal.
Now I’m traveling in a really tight budget so I cannot afford to buy many stuff or going out for dinner or drinks only maybe once every week or every two weeks to a restaurant so Starbucks is out of question, why would I spend 400-700 yen in a coffee when I can have free coffee in the hostel, yea! Instant coffee is far from a real coffee but the savings are real.
So buying a coffee in Starbucks will not be an option here in Japan at least they had a wonderfully/tasty/weird/special seasonal flavor like last month they have Banana and this month Sakura flavor latte or frappuccino, one day walking by Hondori street I saw a poster about a new flavor banana! Never tough that coffee and banana would be a good combination, as a fruit is great coffee companion but IN the coffee didn’t seems right, but well, if pumpkin and coconut are an option, why banana not? Or maybe apple? No, I don’t think so.
Few days after I went to Don Quixote to get some milk as part of a nutritious diet in Japan that almost nothing has calcium and saw the Banana Soy Milk for only 170 yen with taxes, after thinking for a while if it was something I really need or want I decide tobuy it, is ok, I’m not spending much in alcohol either so my expenses are almost null here so I took it home and after heating water I made the coffee with banana flavor.
Incredibly it tastes really good!
Now that I remember I used to do banana smoothie back home with
coffee on it so it wasn’t such a new thing at eh end.

Sleeping on a Car in Kitakyushu

I wrote before that hitchhiking makes me feel alive but didn’t wrote that also sometimes it makes me feel death, the memories will be good and for sure some moments unforgettable but there are also moments when in my mind toughs like “I should give up” “come on, just get in a bus and go to sleep!” “I´m sick of it” but suddenly the words of my hitchhiking tutors came to my mind saying “hey! There’s no point on being this worried, nobody will pick you up if they saw you sad and blue, you better cheep up and hope for the next car to take you” then I start signing “Mexico lindo y querido” or just smile to everyone that sees me and hope for the best.
This time I wanted to go east and a guest in the hostel also was planning on hitchhike the same day as me, so I made the easiest route to the service station to bu sure that it will be an easy trip. We took the street car and walked for about an hour to the service station, the weather wasn’t the best for this kind of trips but I felt it as wonderful, being someone that has lived most of his life in the desert being under the rain during an hour felt great!
It took us less than a minute for find someone who could bring us near Fukuoka and I just went with the flow and visit Fukuoka again, (to be honest I had read that the Pokemon center there was amazing and I really wanted to visit it), the road was good, we got some coffee and near Fukuoka the invited us some dinner then left us in the center of the city.
Fukuoka Red district
We were walking around the city center and suddenly we found the red district, places with pictures of girls in catalogs and names like “Exciting adult club” or sings saying “how nice of you to come!” we walked around the place and laugh a lot for the bizarreness of the place and talking about how good or bad is the prostitution. I’m still not sure how does it works in Japan, I know that in some countries they are sex slaves or forced to be there or what other motivations do they have, but I’ll read more about it.

 what a best name for a club “Exciting Adult Club”

 or How nice of you to come!

 Driving around the country

Sleeping in a car

 Next morning I planned to go back to Hiroshima so looking at the map routes there was a road that seemed to be a main one out of the city. I made a sing, a really bad one, with some paper and latter a decent one with a carton someone gave me in a gas station. Wasn’t a long walk till a guy in a black car told me to get in, I ran and got in to the car, say hello and he explain me that he could take me to the service station in Mitu but first we need to go to his home for something. His English wasn’t fluent so the conversation had a lot of loops, in his home I drank some water and then he took me to the service station and told me that if in two hours I still there we could have some drinks The idea of drinks sounded better than any other in few days so I told him that I can wait for him to finish work and then we could have some drinks, we went back to his home and watch some Japanese funny programs and he gave me an action figure of Koro a One piece character telling me that was his favorite and he wanted to me to keep it. (now I’ve watch some episodes of the anime and he looks like the coolest guy on the history)
After that we drove around the city, went to an island near Fukuoka, eat some snacks and then drove to another city for noodles, the store was closes so we had some Takoyaki and then moved to Kitakyushu there we walked in the downtown, it felt worse than a ghost town, old valleys where easily you could see people playing cards and drinking, most of the lights off and alleys inside the alleys, we found a restaurant and had some drinks, octopus kimchi, fried chicken, raw horse meat and other snacks with beer and highball, after that place we moved to his friend bar, drinking and chatting listening to Japanese music, sake and tequila, some weird Polish alcohol with 96% and more sake, it was fun. I remember going back to the car and sleep there but in the morning there was a bunch of boxes with cookies and chocolates, some coffee and in my phone a picture of some beer and noodles that look so good I wish I dint forget eaten them.


Early in the morning he took the to the service station in the expressway and from there I retook my way to Hiroshima. in my last ride Sigeru Tanaka took me to Hiroshima and we had some lunch together and he gave me a great Japanese souvenir, a wooden rice pale! what more Japanese than rice? and its believed that it was invented by a monk near Hiroshima

It was a great trip and it remained me again that traveling is not much about the destinations but the road to them.

Miyajima island 宮島

Miyajima island 宮島
You know Miyajima island, I’m sure you have at least see a picture of it somewhere or
hear/read something about it, is a small (not so small when you are hiking to the top) island near Hiroshima.
Is one of the 3 views of Japan with Matsushima and Amanohashidate and is the only
one that I have visited so far.
The magical place
Miyajima was a volcano long time ago and not so long time ago (maybe a twelve hundred years) a monk named Kōbō Daishi founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism visit the place and felt the holiness and aesthetic of the place so he decided to make it a place to stay and practice Shingon there.
People believe that the whole island is God’s body so they build a Shine also another belief is that the Gods dwell in Miyajima island.
The Shrine was made on the sea and not on land because it was considered profane to build
something on God’s land. And you can actually feel this feeling you are in a really old place, specially at night when almost no one is there.
Before going there:
-Check the weather, for us in the morning was sunny but when hiking to the top of the Mt. Misen the weather got really cold.
Drinks: Take a bottle of water, tea or energy drinks with you, I don’t get why to spend money on drinks when you can have them for free.
there are a lot of events during the year, it would be bad to go there the same day and missing it, look for them before leaving the internet.
How to get there:
I’m currently in Hiroshima so the easiest and cheapest way to buy one day ticket and take the street bus south west to Miyajimaguchi Station and then take the ferry to Miyajima port, and from there, the island is yours!

What to do there

is not a list of “the 10 things you have to do in Miyajima Island” or “Top 10 things to do in Miyajima Island” but instead my recommendations and a couple of places I would like to go next time I visit the Island.
The moment you go out of the port building you will notice a deer, a wild deer trying to eat peoples stuff, specially paper, they are friendly but also can get angry at you if you bother them so much. We waited for a friend some minutes outside the building and saw a lot of reactions of the people, the distracted boy that saw the deer just after it hit the boy forehead and he was scared as hell, the foreign guy yelling to his mom about the deer but the mom was to distracted that she didn’t even notice, the Instagram girl that acted like a food and give the deer a lot of paper just to take a good picture, we just looked at them with disapproval because too much paper for the poor animal.
The animals are everywhere in the bottom of the island, chilling, chasing some people, posing for pictures or just walking around, when you get closer to them is easy to notice that the horns has been removed, I guess is for safety reasons.
Shops, foods and souvenirs:
Walking to the Shrine you will find Omotesando Street, the main place in the town with a lot of stores full of souvenirs, restaurants, street food and candy shops, In January is the oyster festival so is a must to do, they are really good. (about 400 yen for a couple of
The floating Shrine!

If you walk from the coastline instead of the stores you will quickly notice the Red Torii Gate floating in the sea, an amazing view and the contrast within red, blue sky, dark green sea and the forest behind it is amazing. After taking as many pictures as you want to in any position you like, look for a place to sit for a while and take a time to appreciate the beauty of it.
We went wen the tide was not so high neither low so we couldn’t walk to the gate neither see the Shrine with water under it, but I bet it will be great to go on a day with low and high tide. You have to pay to get into the Shrine and see all the treasures that are inside
Check the Tide table
Daisho-in Temple

Maybe my favorite place on the Island, Daisho temple is that kind of places that when you arrive you feel good, peace, light, like if gravity were less on it or your thoughts got dissipated, it was our next stop and on our way to it we could see the Five-Story Pagoda and more deers.

Daisho-in Temple is one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism and it has a lof of things to see, after the Niomon Gate and the kings that guard the temple you will see a long stair up with 600 vulumes of Dai-hannyakyo Scripture (Buddhist scriptures) that its
believed if you read them, or touch them in their spinning metal wheels they will bring you “Enourmus fortune”, I did touch them because I cannot read Japanese.
At one side of the door there are 500 Rakan Statues of the disciples and all of them have different facial expressions, I went on winter and they had beanies in their heads and scarfs, some people leave money on them.
After the Rakan Statues you can see the Bell that it was used to tell the time in the morning, afternoon and evening, but not you can hit it with a huge piece of wood and they ring it to start the time for worship.
Then is the information office, toilets, the Kannon-do Hall with the imagine of the Deity of Mercy with eleven heads that will look for all the creatures in Earth and save them, a gigantic Sand Mandala that is made with colored sand made by Buddhist monks from the Tibet.
Walking upwards will see the Cosmic Buddha, the 1,000 Fudo images or
Inmovable King.

Now there are two paths, right will take you to Maniden Hall and left to Daishi-do Hall, both of them worth of your time and energy, yes, even if you already saw 1000 temples in Japan.
In the temple you will notice a lot of statues called Jizo Bosatsu with red bibs, this is because parents who have lost their childrend think they are their lost children so they take care of the Jizo. I found one with a child shirt and some others with baby toys, hard to
imagine the feeling they have.
Red ribs for the lost child
Hiking to the Mt. Misen:
Before Hiking they recommend you to not doing it sleepy or after a night without good sleep because is about 90 minute hiking and over 500 meters above the sea. Some people find it hard, the track was nice, some stairs, some pathways, after few minutes we encounter snow and it was frozen, later we had some refreshing hail just after we got in the part of the trail with snow and we could feel the huge pieces of snow hitting our heads every time they fell from a tree.
A non-Hobbit house
We tough we had reached the peak so we stop to appreciate the view and take some pictures but we were a little bit far from it, we meet some Mexican guys from Guanajuato and we all went together to the peak. From there you can see a lot of islands nearby, Hiroshima,
This is me looking at the distance
We walked down to the eternal flame, a friend of mine was in a hurry so we took him to the gondola and we walked down.
It was good that we finish the hike before it was all dark because they have no lights on the path so it becomes a little bit dangerous, still I had a flash light that I got in Korea and the phones now are always a good tool for that.
In the island you can find an aquarium and a history museum that I didn’t visited but they seem like a good option if you don’t feel like doing the hiking.
This is Huge!!!

Hitchhiking from Fukuoka to Hiroshima

Hitchhiking is cool, I really like it, I have done it in Mexico, Taiwan, Finland, South Korea and now in Japan sometimes I do it without thinking or just with the feeling of “oh I should walk that way and then start walking in the road with my finger in the air till someone picked me up.

It makes me feel alive, makes me feel weak and in the middle of nothing it gives you the sensation that you just big failed, but if things went well, you will enjoy 100x more than taking a train or a bus.

But after the Busan mistake I will be more careful, so the night before departing I looked on google maps and looked for the express ways from Fukuoka to Hiroshima.

Walking to the Expressway

Starting the adventure!

Because I was in Kasuga city I decided to go to the expressway in the south thinking that maybe most of the cars that come from the south has to take that route.

Second shock in Japan, Japan is clean!!! when walking in the highway in Korea I could easily find any paper or carton to write my destinations name, but here there was nothing, not a single piece of paper in the first hour walking, just some plastic bags that were perambulating in the air but no cardboard or big pieces of paper. Luckily in a phone booth there was the cover of a disposal ice cooler, so I took it and in the next stop I wrote down in Kanji 広島 “Hiroshima”, and kept waking to the last entrance to the expressway.

Una foto publicada por Gilberto Rivera (@rgilberto11) el 18 de Ene de 2017 a la(s) 4:39 PST


It took me almost an hour walking there and another hour to get somebody to pick me up, many people on my way wished me good luck and “Gambatte”, some girls in a car stop just to cheer me up, that actually helps. I tried to look for the plate of the cars that instead of saying Fukuoka said Hiroshima, but most of the traffic was local one.

The first people that picked me up were a young Japanese couple that offered me to take me to the service station, Keiichi had done hitchhiking before to Osaka and Niina loved to travel so they recommended me to be in the station and things will be easier, the funny stuff is that we went to a station first, Niina got some mochi, Japanese rice cake, and then we went to another station, and another, and another, they had a free day at work so it seems they were enjoying the trip as much as I was,

We crossed the Kanmonkyō bridge, the one that connects Japan two of the four main islands, and they told me that it was a place where a lot of important Samurai fights happened. At the end we drive half way from Fukuoka to Hiroshima, after that Niina we were hungry so we stop and eat some Japanese roof tile noodles, really good ones!!!


After a long goodbye and a hundred thank you they went back home and I stayed in the station with my sign and looking for people with Hiroshima plates, after maybe 20 min a man try to explain me that we wasn’t going to Hiroshima city but he can drop me in a really close rest station. We tried to communicate with a phone translator, after half an hour I couldn’t stand it anymore and fell sleep until the next stop where they left me, they give me a package of cookies 🙂

The noodles are over a traditional Japanese roof tile

After the second ride and only about 10km from Hiroshima the Sun was going down

 Again in the last station it was only 10km from central Hiroshima and I notice two mistakes I made before leaving the “Wi-Fi safe zone”

1.- Not downloading the maps to where I was going to (Hiroshima)
2.- Not downloading the English-Japanese pack in google translator
*extra mistake: maybe bringing 2 jackets from the beginning of the trip wasn’t the best idea either.

The Sun was almost down and there was some snow in the shadows or the sidewalks, a lady told me that it will be better to write “Hiroshima city” because we were already in Hiroshima prefecture, and then also to put “inside” so people knows that I want to go there, and at the bottom she wrote the district I was going to. I wait for about 20min until Yamamoto told me that he can take me to the city and his house was not far from the central station. Yamamoto is the manager of 17 Yoshinoya stores, he lives far from his family but seems to be happy with his job position, his English wasn’t fluent but enough to have a conversation for the drive.

Arigato Yamamoto

In central station I could either take a bus or walk for another 40-50 min, again, the weather still good so I decided to walk, I could see the Hiroshima castle, and some nice buildings on my way, I arrived at the hostel maybe 6 pm and that day I felt like its going to be a good place to be for the next weeks.

At least! Central Station!!!

My time in Fukuoka

Fukuoka is one of fastest growing city in Japan, in 2011 it passed the population of Kyoto, is also a quite new city but full of Shrines, parks, shopping centers, museums and temples. Is the sixth largest city in Japan, with about 1.6M people in the city and 5.6M in the metro area, and the tourism has increase, many many Koreans come here or people that want to renew his Korean visa.

Arriving to #Fukuoka #unTravelling #Japan #sea #ferry

Una foto publicada por Gilberto Rivera (@rgilberto11) el 17 de Ene de 2017 a la(s) 2:38 PST

I arrived to the port in Fukuoka on monday, official name is Hakata Port International Terminal, Fukuoka, and being afraid of not having internet later I used the Wi-Fi there, download the Fukuoka maps on and make a route for the day, I visit the Sumiyoshi Shrine, Joten-ji, Kushida shrine, Shinto-Shrine, Fukuoka Castle, on Higashi park I play with some kindergarten children, visit some temples, other parks, shrines, markets, stores, etc.


One of the first things I notice here is that people is really nice, everyone in the street says おはよう Ohayō and bow their head as I did the same with them. Maybe is because is not a big city and I was most of the time out of downtown but people make a lot of eye contact in a good way, not like Korea that they seem to be too into their own minds they almost never make eye contact, even children. Maybe just different level of politeness.

#Fukuoka #Japan #temple #travel #Asia #traveling #new #explore #inspiration #photo #photography #EastAsia #traveler #unTravelling #Buddhism

Una foto publicada por Gilberto Rivera (@rgilberto11) el 17 de Ene de 2017 a la(s) 2:41 PST


I walked around the city until I arrived to Hakata Station and by that time I was starving, so I looked for a place to eat, walking around the stations I saw hundreds of restaurants and nice places to eat, between 500-1200 yen, at the end I decided to eat some spicy pork stew, that at the end was not pork but tofu and the rice was ordered apart so I ended paying more than 700yen for what was less than a set, I got some free nice green tea and a soup. In Korea I could have a nice and filing lunch with that amount of money but well usually the first meal in a new country is expensive and not the best.

In the restaurant I met Takafumi a Japanese guy that was in Fukuoka for a business trip, we didn’t talk much before eating just itadakimasu but after finishing the lunch we stay there for maybe half an hour chatting, quite cool guy from Tokyo, we exchange Facebook accounts and each one start walking to different ways, for sure I’ll let him know if I visit Tokyo soon.

Before taking the train I used the Japanese toilets and clean myself with water, I didn’t new you have to stop it but.. well i realized it later, not the best experience. then I took the train south to the closest station of the house I´ll stay in, the weather was nice, a little bit cloudy but not that cold so I walked about 40 min to the direction they told me in Couchsurfing, I could have taken a bus but that implies a lunch or so so I rater walk.

Yoshiki was on time in his home so we get in and Keiko, his wife, receive us with a big smile, we took sit in the living room floor with a square table and some electric Japanese blanket that covers the legs and let you be more comfortable with the cold weather.


We had some really nice sake and dinner, chat for a couple of hours and drink a little bit more, after that we were suppose to take a rest and keep drinking latter but I was so exhausted that when I arrived to the bed I fell sleep until 10pm, I came downstairs and everything was so quiet I didn’t want to bother them. Next day I stayed at home writing and doing some research about Japan, drinking some coffee and eating some matcha chocolate and chatting with Keiko, after that Yoshiki and myself had some really good noodles and enjoy a long chat. He wasn’t feeling really well so we call off the night and I went to my room to take a rest. As usual I was not able to sleep up to late that night.


The noodles and room I stay in, it has a big map with a lot of photographs of host they have had.