Yusuke Ishida was born in Shirahama Town in Wakayama Prefecture. For seven-and-a-half years, Yusuke Ishida rode around the world on a bicycle, visiting 87 countries in the process. The full account can be found in his book Ikazu ni Shineru ka! (Gentosha), which has been translated into multiple languages and sold more than 250,000 copies in three countries, including China. He followed this up with Ichiban Kiken-na Toire to Ichiban no Hoshi-zora and Senmenki de Yagigohan (both published by Gentosha). Other works include Taiwan Jitensha Kimama Tabi (KADOKAWA) and Daiji-na Koto ha Jitensha ga Oshiete-kureta (Shogakukan). Ishida also writes about food and has contributed to Ansoroji Gyoza (PARCO publishing) and Ansoroji Kare Raisu!! Omori (Chikumabunko). He also gives talks at schools and companies around Japan about the topic of goals and dreams, human rights, food and how we live our lives.
I tend to look askance at people who throw themselves into religion and spirituality, and during my bicycle trip around the world, I spent a lot of time at so-called holy sites and had my fair share of pretend meditation. This is not to say that I hate religion or spirituality. Although the recent phenomenon of trendy spirituality where people flock to this or that spot “filled with spiritual power” is utterly baffling to me...
I only mention it to highlight my attitude when I came back from my trip around the world and decided, several days after being in my parent’s home in Nanki Shirahama, to make the trek up to the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine.
When I got to the top of the long flight of stone steps and stood on the grounds of the shrine, I could feel goosebumps on my skin. The air seemed so clear and full of light. “Oh, wow,” I thought. “This has been right next to me the whole time...”
I felt so overwhelmed by the “pull” that it exerted on me that, even though it been only mere days since I had returned from some of the greatest holy sites in the world, I could easily put Kumano up among them. My hope is that the appeal of this place, which has captivated people for more than 1,000 years, will be shared with many more people far and wide.