Who needs the bullet train when you’re a fan with legs of steel?

Today is the opening day for Winter Comiket, the cold-season iteration of Japan’s twice-a-year mega-gathering of anime otaku and dojinshi (self-published comics) artists. Coinciding with Japan’s New Year’s vacation period, Comiket draws attendees from all across the country to its venue at Tokyo Big Sight, including Aichi Prefecture resident and Twitter user @DJ_FLANDRE.

It’s roughly 400 kilometers (about 249 miles) from @DJ_FLANDRE’s home to Tokyo, so the sensible thing to do would be to take the Shinkansen bullet train, which would get @DJ_FLANDRE there in about two hours. But the hardcore thing would be to make the journey by bicycle, and  @DJ_FLANDRE is definitely hardcore.

▼ Aichi Prefecture (red) and Tokyo (blue arrow)

Oh, and @DJ_FLANDRE wasn’t going to make the trip using a sporty competition-spec bike, but with a “mama chari” (from “mama chariot”), the heavy-framed bicycle commonly used by Japanese housewives while running local errands, complete with shopping basket.

@DJ_FLANDRE started pedaling on Christmas morning, hopping on the bike at 9 a.m. on December 25. Shortly before noon, he’d passed through Nagoya, Aichi’s prefectural capital, and reached Toyoake City.

This actually wasn’t @DJ_FLANDRE’s first time to travel to Comiket by mama chari. He did the same thing last summer when he jokingly asked people on Twitter if he should make the journey to Tokyo by train, bus, or bicycle, and the third option received the most votes. Compared to his first trip, things were much easier this time around without the steaming-sapping heat of August to contend with. @DJ_FLANDRE also did more prep work before leaving his home, investigating the best route to take instead of navigating while en-route using his smartphone’s GPS, and at 3:51 p.m. he’d reached the neighboring prefecture of Shizuoka, more than five hours earlier than he had in the summer.

▼ He also got a rejuvenating view of the sea as he hit 100 kilometers (62 miles) of pedaling.

All that exercise gave @DJ_FLANDRE a monstrous appetite, so at 7:30 he stopped by a branch of hamburger steak chain Sawayaka for a hearty Christmas dinner, adding a side of vegetable curry.

▼ The bike’s basket, stocked with energy and protein drinks

At 10:37, @DJ_FLANDRE rolled into Shizuoka City. Having covered 210 kilometers (130 miles), he figured that was enough for one day, and found a “kenko land” (public bath or hot spring with napping facilities) in which to spend the night. The next morning, it was back on the road at 9 a.m. again, this time with Mt. Fuji seemingly cheering him on, and the blue skies washing away any mental fatigue.

Lunch on the second day was at, once again, a branch of Sawayaka.

Shizuoka Prefecture is one of the longer west-to-east prefectures in Japan, but as @DJ_FLANDRE made his way across it, he was already thinking about the last prefecture between Shizuoka and Tokyo: Kanagawa. In the summer, @DJ_FLANDRE had chosen to cross Kanagawa by pedaling through the town of Hakone. But while Hakone’s steep mountain roads are pretty awesome if you’re in a sports car, they’re considerably less enjoyable on a mama chari.

▼ All those twists and turns on the yellow road leading up to the lake are uphill if you’re coming from Shizuoka, like @DJ_FLANDRE was.

So this time, he opted for the coastal route, passing through Atami, a seaside hot spring resort town. But rather than splurge on such luxurious accommodations, @DJ_FLANDRE kept pedaling for five more hours after reaching Atami until he got to the city of Chigasaki, plopping himself down in an Internet cafe with overnight plans shortly before midnight, having covered 120 kilometers on Day 2, bringing his total so far up to 330 kilometers (205 miles).

As usual, @DJ_FLANDRE was on the road at 9 the next morning, reaching Yokohama at 10:38. Now within easy striking distance of Tokyo, he even had time to meet up with some local friends for yet another protein-packed meaty meal.

At 3:12, he crossed over into Kawasaki, the northernmost city in Kanagawa and Tokyo’s southern neighbor.

About 15 minutes later, he saw a sign for the Tamagawa River, which acts as the Tokyo/Kawasaki border…

…and then, at 3:41, he was on the far shore, in Tokyo!

While the benefits of experience made @DJ_FLANDRE’s mama chari trek easier than his first, he still has a few notes for next time. First, he says that even in winter, doing this much pedaling will work up a sweat. On the plus side, that means that while he was riding he didn’t feel cold at all, but it also means that it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, even if the lack of warm weather isn’t necessarily making you feel thirsty. He also says that he packed too many clothes, and the extra weight made uphill sections of the route harder than they needed to be. With less luggage, he thinks he could actually make the trip from Aichi to Nagoya in two days instead of three.

And as for what @DJ_FLANDRE is doing today?

Enjoying Comiket, of course, where we’re sure plenty of people are telling him Otsukare-sama!”

Source: Twitter/@DJ_FLANDRE via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@DJ_FLANDRE
Insert image: Wikipedia/TAKASUGI Shinji (edited by SoraNews24)

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he really wants to try Sawayaka for himself.