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Cowling man cycles across Japan to aid tsunami victims
6:02am Tuesday 17th June 2014 in News
Cowling man Daniel Olsson is riding through Japan to raise money for a community hit by the 2011 tsunami.
He wants to raise thousands of pounds for the people of Ogatsu by cycling 2,000 miles from one end of the country to the other.
Daniel, 26, experienced the tsunami and its accompanying earthquake only three weeks after arriving in Japan from the UK.
The former South Craven School student had decided to travel to the country after studying Japanese history at Newcastle University.
For the past three years he has been teaching English to primary school children.
Daniel embarked on his solo cycle ride – which is three times the distance from John O’Groats to Lands End – on May 18. He expects to finish towards the end of July.
Daniel said: “After living in Japan for three years. I wanted to delve into into the society that has become my home.
“It is a culture that is so different from the one I left at home, but just as complex and multi-layered.
“I’m seeing how people in different parts of the country live their day-to-day lives. And I want to go on an adventure.”
Sponsorship proceeds will support the small town of Ogatsu, in Miyagi Prefecture, which was almost completely destroyed by the tsunami and 75 per cent of its residents were killed.
Daniel said: “The Ogatsu School Restoration Project aims to convert an old school building into a centre for outdoor pursuits and sustainable living.
“It combines two things that are very important to me: education and the environment.
Daniel said the Great East Japan Earthquake was not like a regular earthquake.
He said: “It was more like a wave that made everything sway. I thought I was having a dizzy spell.
“While the tsunami didn’t directly affect my area the consequences of the loss of life and the subsequent nuclear problems made living in Japan tricky for give a while.
“There were lots of people leaving the country, but I decided to stick it out.”
Daniel said that during his cycle ride he was camping, staying with host families and occasionally paying for accommodation.
He said: “People in the countryside generally seem more eager to help me than those in the cities.
“Whenever I’ve been in a sticky situation, like not being able to find a place to pitch my tent or make a phone call, people have been very approachable and keen to help.”
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