August 30, 2015

In one week I’ll be traveling to Tokyo and taking another plane from there to Aomori, where we will rent a car and reach Tapii 90 minutes later…we hope.

There are days when you just have to close all your to-do folders and get on with it.

There are a number of things I haven’t been able to wrap up yet, however, one of which is visiting Juan Carlos Salas. Juan Carlos, besides being my friend, is an acupuncturist who helped me out of my injuries by working with my jaw and correcting my bite. Since the pain in my left shoulder had not subsided, I decided to have him make me a new mouth guard. After an hour of adjustment on my bite and my back, I left with my arm in a better position. The pain had not disappeared completely, but there was definitely less stress on the shoulder. In the next day I hope to continue to improve.

Since my return from Spain two months ago I’ve been doing strength training twice a week. I had to get three sessions with my coach in Sport City, Oscar Perez, this past week I because my schedule next week is complicated. Following the discomfort I had on the Straits of Gibraltar we have paid attention to three areas: the shoulders, the lower back and the neck. We spent the routine 30 minutes on the routing, including breaks, the first time we did it. This week we’ll be doing sessions of 1 hour, 21 minutes. So we’ve nailed that department.

Organizing the trip has been a challenge. Tappi, the city where we will wait for eight days, is in the north of Japanm in a rural area. When you begin the process of requesting a space, the first thing they tell you is that one of the challenges is living completely removed from contact with the western world. People do not speak English, there is no western food, and then on the boat, communication with the captain is complicated. Oh, and there are no taxis.

In January I made my plane reservations. In March I reserved hotel rooms and made plans to go by train from Tokyo to Aomori, where he hoped to rent a car.

In early June I received an email from my travel agency saying that Mexicans could not drive in Japan. Apparently it is an issue of language, and their driving on the “wrong” (left hand) side of the road.

Fortunately, I have a friend who works at the Mexican Embassy in Japan named Guillermo Eguiarte, and when saw how complicated it was for us to travel by train and rent a car, he decided to join the group. So our group will now be comprised of four Mexicans in Tapii—but including one who speaks and writes Japanese fluently. A g=reat relief for everyone.

Unlike the Catalina Channel, where there is a lot of information about crossings, Tsugaru is a very complex and relatively new swim and so there have been few crossing attempts.

The first person to cross to cross Honshu (the main island) to Hokkaido was the American David Yudovin in 1990. His time was 11 hours, 56 minutes. To date 17 more people have crossed Tsugaru, with Steven Munatones holding the record for the the shortest time, 6 hours, 11 minutes.

According to our routine, I reached Shimasaki Yusuke, our contact at the association that regulates the crossing, and asked him a series of questions about the location of the weather buoy, the results of crossings this year and other matters.

Regarding the buoy, he told me that there is one that can give us information on the temperature of the water and the wind.

The year’s results were not encouraging, however. Five people have attempted a crossing, and four did not succeed. The fifth made it on the second try. His comment on reaching Hokkaido: “The weather is not cooperating.”

There is not much else I can do now. I will continue training during this last week in Mexico, leaving the shoulder injury behind and reaching Tapii to feel Japan’s North Sea in my body. I am sure we will find a sense of fluidity.