Category: Strine

Aussie Kit Maker Perfuro Storming Onto the Scene

Perfuro certainly blew a storm for me!

And so it should have, considering the Latin word for storm is the name given to a great line of Aussie cycling gear from the Gold Coast that Kangaeroo.com was lucky enough to get to try out after being picked as a contest winner.

Kangaeroo.com doesn’t win too much, so wanted to treat the kit with the reverence it deserved.

Perfuro founder Martin Coleman contacted Kangaeroo.com in early June to notify him of the win. Then, 2020 hit again.

Japan Post has halted air mail to Australia because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t deter Martin and he found a way to get the kit to arrive in Japan within a month (at a time when Japan Post was saying that deliveries between the two countries could take anywhere up to six months).

Perfuro’s Synoptic Series Coldfront jersey and shorts, which Kangaeroo.com had won, were well-packed in individual plastic, sealable bags.

Sizes had been selected using the size charts on the company’s website. Being a lumpy old man with a funny-shaped dad bod, Kangaeroo.com always opens cycling kit with a bit of trepidation. But the measurements were spot on, and consequently, so was the fit.

Kangaeroo.com was worried. He doesn’t look the best in body-hugging lycra, and is highly insecure about wearing it because of this. But Perfuro’s Martin assured him that “nobody looks bad in my gear.” We reckon Martin might be right, too, and the photos in the gallery below give a lot of credence to the founder’s assertions. Kangaeroo.com is certainly not scared to show off the results to the world, which says something.

Having received the gear in early July, the urge to put it on and get out on the bike to try to it was immense. But, once again seeking the best possible conditions to do so, waited for a sunny day. And waited. And waited. And waited. The Tokyo area was hit by rain every single day for the month of July, the last few days of June and into the start of August.

Finally, though, the day dawned when it was time to get the gear on and take some shots.

And what a delight! Perfuro is made using Italian fabric and its’s very gentle on the skin. Also gentle is the lack of protruding seams, which means there’s no skin abrasions. Tokyo in early August is fiercely hot and the humidity is suffocating; perfect conditions for generating a sweat in anyone. The kit absorbed the perspiration well and stayed dry, avoiding chafing and keeping the body cool. The sponge chamois was a great fit and made for a comfortable ride. The designs and colors are also fabulous, with Coldfront’s red hue with white and black tinges one of the options.

Perfuro offers four men’s stylish product lines. There’s an equivalent number of women’s gear lines and the company also sells cycling tech accessories. You can also read Martin’s novel through the website.

All of this for half the price about half of what you’d expect to pay for equivalent quality cycling kit. And Perfuro has loads of different payment options, including partial payments, making all of its offerings highly accessible for even trifling sums.

In what’s been a bleak year for pretty much everyone worldwide, Perfuro has blown in with a fresh breeze offering at least a little delight.

May It Always Be May

May is gorgeous in Japan, even this year when the world is confronting the bleak tragedy of the covid-19 outbreak.

The warm, dry, mostly sunny month brings some much-needed delight.

You Know You’re Australian If…

A decade or so ago, Sydney comedian Richard Glover wrote a fairly comprehensive list of typical Australian behaviors that is usually reprinted around this time of year, heading into Australia Day on January 26.

Kangaeroo joints the throng of reprinters by adding the list here.

You know you’re Australian if:

You know the meaning of the word “girt”.

You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

A bloke wearing Stubbies

You understand that, should an Australian prime minister attempt to invent a nickname for himself, the nation would respond by choosing its own moniker, somewhat less flattering.

You believe the best-looking people in the world are those wearing the uniform of the Rural Fire Service, or its equivalent in other states.

Returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs just in case you’re trying to sneak in fruit.

You make a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering a lawn.

You are alive to the debate over Australia Day, but accept the public holiday without question.

You’re secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

You understand that tough times create strong, resilient, loving communities but would now like a break from the constant fire, flood, drought and hail.

You believe that any DIY purchase must be accompanied by a sausage in a bun.

A Bunnings sausage

You were taught on your grandparents’ knee that “all the banks are bastards” and now have the proof.

You believe the best tourist attractions are housed within giant fibreglass prawns, bananas and sheep.

You bitterly criticise the media for its constant and intrusive stories about the British royal family, then find yourself reading every word about Harry and Meghan.

You believe the most patriotic way to vote at election time is while wearing a swimming costume.

You know the British feel superior to us – but find yourself increasingly perplexed as to why.

You pronounce Melbourne as “Mel-bin”.

You pronounce Penrith as “Pen-riff”.

You wonder when it was, exactly, that Australia’s politicians lost their sense of shame.

You can translate: “Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas.”

You understand that “Wagga Wagga” can be abbreviated to “Wagga” but “Woy Woy” can’t be called “Woy”.

You are welcoming of foreign visitors – but can’t wait to tell them about the Drop Bears.

You are staunch in your defence of Australian-owned enterprises but can’t resist buying truckloads of imported crap.

Maccas

You call your best friend “a total bastard” but someone you really, truly despise is merely “a bit of a bastard”.

You wonder why, given the amount of cash thrown around at election time, none of it ever hits you.

When you hear that an American “roots for his team”, you wonder how often and with whom.

You believe it is appropriate to put a rubber in your son’s pencil case when he first attends school.

You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that’s twice as big as its $2 coin.

Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway food in every Asian language.

You believe that cooked-down axle-grease makes a good breakfast spread.

You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they revert to being Kiwis.

Hamburger. Beetroot. Of course.

You know that certain vulgar words must, by law, be shouted during any rendition of the Angels’ song Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

You believe that the more you shorten someone’s name, the more you like them.

You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem, then have trouble remembering the second.

When you retire, your aim is to enjoy some “lifestyle” – an Australian word which roughly translates as “chardonnay”.

You understand that the phrase “a group of women wearing black thongs” refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

A $1 coin is double the size of a $2 coin

You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says “cobber”.

You believe, as an article of faith, that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

You know that “you” has a plural and that it’s “youse”.

You’re proud of your country, but understand it can do a whole lot better.

You know what it’s like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose.

You will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand.

Picking Up From Where We Left Off

First sunrise of 2020

As sticklers will point out, 2020 doesn’t really count as the start of the Twenty-Twenties, but Kangaeroo reckons it does, so that’s how we’ll view it on the site.

And the ’20s got off in pretty much the same way that 2019 left off–on the saddle, pushing the pedals.

Once again, the pace was about 100 km/day.

Visited sites included a loop of the Yamanote Line circling central Tokyo, the Tama River (again!), Takahata Fudosan temple and plenty of views of Mount Fuji.

Yamanote Line Loop

Tama River

Mount Fuji

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2020, the Year of the Rat, according to the Chinese zodiac.

A rat is as close as you’ll get to a kangaroo in the Far East, so Kangaeroo is looking forward to this year.

And if that’s not good enough, Kangaeroo’s track record suggests a rat is not too far away.

Either way, we hope that all and sundry have a wonderful year, whatever happens.

A Second Bite of Biwaichi

Fatigue, muscle soreness and endurance were going to be the order of the day on the Kangaeroo crew’s second leg of Biwaichi, the circumnavigation of Biwa, Japan’s largest lake.

Mrs. Kangaeroo had completed the 70-plus kilometer first leg with barely a hint of trouble, but not being used to cycling, it was going to be the second day that presented a big test as it would display her recuperative powers.

Typically, she was magnificent! She woke with a huge smile and full of beans, getting into her Kangaeroo.com jersey and racing down to the hotel restaurant for the fancy buffet breakfast.

The buffet, as is often the case, left a bit to be desired (unless you’re really into Japanese breakfasts, in which case it was quite acceptable).

The restaurant, however, gave early risers like the Kangaeroo crew a great boost by having massive windows with a lake view, from which we were greeted with a glorious sunrise.

Following the previous day’s magnificent weather, the rising sun also lifted expectations, so we set off with a light heart and deep gratitude, especially as the hotel presented us with a bottle of water each to drink on our journey.

Once again, the early part of the ride offered a wonderfully maintained bike track that made riding a delight.

After about 3/4 hour on the road we cam across a huge windmill.

Closer inspection revealed that the windmill was just one of three in the area, and these served as symbols for what looked to be a wonderful glamping site.

Seeing the windmills was to be the highlight of the early morning.

Continuing along the bike track there was little to see as one campsite followed another on the lake side to our left.

To our right were large numbers of holiday houses, most of them apparently deserted.

The “Japocalypse” of a stagnant economy, low birthrate and rapid aging was clearly evident near Lake Biwa, which is actually more of a vibrant place than most due its proximity to the Keihanshin megacity made up of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Yet the decay and degradation afflicting much of non-urban Japan was clearly evident, together with the hangover of the 1980s bubble economy.

Most notable views came not from the lake, but the mountains of Takashima, which were covered by a blanket of mist and clouds.

It was quite an impressive view, especially as the day was essentially sunny, which made the clouds stand out more.

Also spectacular was a torii Shinto shrine gate in the water, which is one of the symbols of Lake Biwa.

Unfortunately, it’s located on a part of the Biwaichi course that uses main roads.

Stopping was not only inconvenient, but also uncomfortable.

The Kangaeroo crew made a brief stop, took a shot and headed on, hoping that we would be back on isolated bike tracks and getting lake views while off the main road as soon as possible.

It was not to be.

In fact, the course essentially continued along the main road through to the bottom of the lake, becoming more built up with each kilometer traversed as we drew ever closer to Kyoto.

What’s worse, though, was that there were not a great deal of lake views.

Considering we were on a circumnavigation of the lake, not being able to see the body of water was a bit disappointing and detracted from the sheer delight of the previous day’s riding.

The lake side has its appeals, with resort hotels, pachinko parlors, shopping malls, speedboat races and other pleasures that attract the local population, but it’s not really fare that the Kangaeroo crew get into.

One highlight, however, was passing through Ogoto, a place Kangaeroo had long sought to see in person but had never gotten around to doing so.

Ogoto is the location of one of Japan’s top soapland brothel districts, joining Kawasaki and Gifu.

It was this dubious honor that may have owed to the unattractive nature of the road.

There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of the late Emperor Hirohito touring Lake Biwa in the 1970s.

It was then the heyday of the soapland, or Turkish baths (toruko buro) as they were then known.

Route planners realized the Emperor, who had been born a god even though he had long renounced that status by then, would be driving through the fleshpits of Ogoto.

Quickly, a solution was sought, and within mere weeks a new road was built that avoided the district and saved the Emperor from having to see it.

Forward 40–odd years and it appears economics and changing mores have done to the Ogoto red light district what the prudes pulled off in the Me era, with little sign of the area being anywhere near its once heralded glory.

Drawing to a close of the day’s ride, the Kangaeroo crew came across a quaint, typically German-style cottage.

It looked so out of place it was worth a look. Turns out it was a restaurant set up as part of a sister city relationship.

Rumbling tummies decided it would be Deutschland uber alles, so we waited for the better part of an hour for a place.

It was worth it. The veal and pork served were exquisite and the garden setting delightful, even as the day began to cloud over.

While waiting to dine, Kangaeroo also realized he’d had his camera switched to the Effects mode for most of the day, making nearly all of the 200 or so photos he’d taken look like cartoons or something out of a Ralph Bakshi movie instead of photographs. A Google search revealed that the process was irreversible, which put a bit of a dampener on the day.

Worse was to come after the Kangaeroo crew rounded the bottom of the lake at Seta and reached their hotel, the Royal Oak Shiga.

Expectations were high as it was a beautiful hotel commanding a hefty rate, but worth indulging in, according to Mrs. Kangaeroo.

How hefty, though, we weren’t to know until checking in.

It was then we discovered that the hotel had double-booked us and double-charged us, inclujding one charge for a pricey suite.

Upon investigation, the hotel admitted its fault, contacted the booking service and pleaded for the charge to be refunded.

The booking service, Agoda.com., was less than forthcoming.

For he next few hours, the Kangaeroo crew went back and forth with the hotel Agoda, trying to fix the fuck-up.

Eventually, after we rejected the offer of a refund in Agoda dollars valid for a few weeks, the booking service backed down and agreed to a full refund.

By that time, the day had been spoiled and we had paid for a pricey hotel room that we could barely enjoy.

At least we learned never to use Agoda or the Royal Oak chain again.

Biwaichi Day 2

恐怖な国!蛇がワニを、クモがポッサムを食べちゃった!

 オーストラリアって、怖い動物がたくさんいる国だ!

 そして、この頃、その恐怖な状態の証になるような衝撃的な写真が出てきた。

 まずは、オーストラリア北部にオリーブ・パイソンという蛇が最も怖い動物のひとつであるワニを丸ごと食べている写真が撮られた!

 そして、それだけじゃない!

 今度は、豪州の真上から真下のタスマニア島へ移ろう。

 ある夫婦が旅行から帰ってきたら、まず見たのがこれだ!

 でかいクモがなん夜行性動物であるポッサムを食べていた!信じられる?

 オーストラリアにいると気をつけようね。

The stuff of nightmares! Husband and wife stumble across a spider eating an entire POSSUM

Amazing photographs show the moment a python devours an entire crocodile in a murky swamp