Around the World

News & Views - August 21st, 2012

The oldest man to have ever circumnavigated the globe – using public transport – completed his record breaking trip when he landed at Fukuoka Airport on his 106th birthday this week.

Saburo Shochi caught the travel-bug back when he was just 99, and local media report that he has now been recognised by Guinness World Records for the journey, which took in North America, Europe and Africa – and around 56,700 kilometers (35,232 miles).

But this was not simply a holiday. Shochi is a professor emeritus at Fukuoka University and delivers lectures on education around the world during his travels. The latest tour, his seventh, saw him leave Japan around a month ago, on July 16th, and visit six countries. He certainly has plenty of life experience to share, and he hopes to get more; Shochi told his supporters on arrival, “I will live more!”

It’s an inspiring story – not quite a modern-day explorer in unchartered waters but, that at such an age he is still going gives gumption to the lazy man and new hope to those who might receive a ‘Life Begins at 60‘ retirement card.

Admirable, or a little crazy? Many people say that the Japanese love to work hard, but surely he deserves a well earned break? We won’t count on it. Shochi told the Mainichi on his arrival home: “In my whole life, I have never said ‘I’m tired’.”