On 30 June, 2008 Yasushi Takahashi, or Yassan for short, quit his job and set out on a trek across Japan. He took with him a GPS logger to document the journey as he experienced the “Japan that [he knows] only in books.”
That might seem like a reckless choice for a man in his thirties, but as we can see, along with Japan he was also mapping out his future during this half-year travel. Yassan also recorded parts of the trip on video and uploaded it to YouTube in a video titled Tegami-Letter.
The video opens with Yassan declaring his intentions to see Japan with a map and GPS and to draw “the message” with GPS. He sets off in his car on his 31st birthday and begins to draw. His journey started in Hokkaido as he traveled around the northern Island taking in the popular spots when he could such as the Abashiri Prison Museum cafeteria.
In August of 2008 Yassan continued into the Tohoku region of Japan. In order to write his “letter” he had to take some roads less traveled.
Luckily he also stumbled upon a temple in Fukushima which greeted him with statues of benevolent travel gods to bless his journey.
This chapter of the journey ended in Tokyo. From there he then took a large leap west, landing in the Kansai region.
…wait a minute.
Let me see those gods again…
It began to look as if food had become in short supply during Yassan’s trip as he seemed to take solace in random sights like stone penises and polka-dot Nissans.
Luckily he never went hungry for too long, making sure to sample some of the areas’ famous foods.
Yassan then went back North to the Kanto and Chubu areas of Japan where he climbed some mountains such as Mt. Fuji and again enjoyed the local flavors including these big crubs.
After that it was back to the south-west towards Okayama where Yassan ran into car trouble.
By New Year’s he had touched down at the final leg of his trek, around the island of Kyushu.
A few days later he made it to his destination completing both his trip across Japan and the letter to his girlfriend he was making with his GPS logger.
Although the marriage was indeed good news, more happiness was in store for Yassan a couple of years later when Guinness World Records acknowledged his letter as “the world’s largest GPS drawing” at 7,164km (4,451mi) long.
One of the commenters on the Guinness website pointed out that another had made a GPS drawing covering most of the United States of America, encouraging everyone to read Ayn Rand. It’s unclear why Guinness has not acknowledged this particular drawing made by Nick Newcomen in 2010.
And you know, even with both of these impassioned works of sheer effort and creativity and their relatively humble requests, I still find myself reluctant to get married or read Ayn Rand again.
▼ Since then, Yassan has become a spokesperson for Hi-Tec footwear
[ Read in Japanese ]