Rickshaw men to trot globe

posted on September 3, 2016

Three rickshaw men from Tokyo's Asakusa district will embark on a round-the-world trip on Monday, taking turns pulling a rickshaw over five continents in around three years.

The men - Yuji Suzuki, 26; Ken Hirano, 26; and Keisuke Takahashi, 25 - are all hoping to inform those who do not have a chance to visit Japan about Japanese culture and the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.

Suzuki, who is originally from Kyoto and currently lives in Asakusa, came up with the idea. He graduated from university in 2013 and moved to Tokyo to earn money for his dream of traveling around the world. He began working as a rickshaw man in June 2013 and found the work fun.

He eventually thought of traveling around the world pulling a rickshaw, but thought it would be difficult to keep pulling a rickshaw alone, so he solicited travel companions before Hirano and Takahashi joined the project.

Suzuki initially became interested in traveling abroad when he was in his junior year at Osaka Gakuin University in Suita, Osaka Prefecture. During the summer, a series of injuries forced him to give up his long-held dream, which he'd had since he was a primary school student, to become a professional soccer player. To achieve some closure on his dream, he traveled by himself to Brazil, where he spent about 1½ months playing soccer on a club team. He said he realized during that time, "There is a broader world outside Japan that I don't know about yet."

The following year, he spent two months traveling across Europe after organizing a project to deliver origami cranes folded by people around the world to victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On the upcoming rickshaw journey, Suzuki's team plans to leave Asakusa at noon Monday and spend about two months traveling to Osaka Prefecture. On the way to Osaka, the trio plans to visit several places including nursing facilities for elderly people. In Osaka, the team will take a ferry on Nov. 1 to Shanghai, then travel to Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, before arriving in India.

source by the-japan-news
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