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Among the thin crop of books on cycling in Japan are Josie Dew’s hilarious account in “A Ride in the Neon Sun,” of her trip from Tokyo to the edges of Okinawa and the extraordinary people and hospitality met. Then there is Leigh Norrie’s more recent “Japan: 6,000 Miles on a Bicycle,” an engaging account of the joys and frustrations of being on the road.

Both books inspire, but sound off cautionary notes. One thing that long put me off distance cycling in Japan, particularly in the summer months, was a friend’s description of encountering slumbering snakes in the long, dark tunnels of Kyushu. Such trifling details don’t seem to bother Takashi Niwa, who is clearly made of tougher stuff.

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