British fundraiser heading to Hokkaido on epic bike trip

Kyodo

A British man is riding a motorcycle from Britain to Japan to raise money for orphans from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Before leaving, Dominic Farwell-Cooke, a 28-year-old aircraft engineer, said he wanted to help those orphaned by the tragedy as well as fulfill the dream of a lifetime.

He set out May 3 from Worthing, England, and is expected to take around four months to reach Wakkanai on the northern tip of Hokkaido, in his quest to raise £3,000 (about ¥500,000) for London-based charity Aid for Japan, which is gathering funds for those orphaned by the disasters.

“I have always had a love for Japan and have got friends out there,” he said. “The country has stolen my heart. The earthquake in 2011 was awful and I wanted to help out.”

His route takes him through Western Europe and into Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia. In an email, Farewell-Cooke said he will reassess his plan to ride through crisis-hit Ukraine once he gets to Kiev.

“Originally I was planning to go through Crimea, but I think that might be a little too foolhardy now, so I’m hoping to cross the border (into Russia) somewhere on the mainland. If that’s a no-go, then I will try to get a transit visa while in Kiev to pass through Belarus to Russia.”

He said the trip is “going well,” although he is falling “further and further behind schedule.”

Without a support crew, Farewell-Cooke will be camping most nights. He is filming the trip using cameras strapped to his motorcycle helmet.