So, I made it to Japan safely, to the city of Kawasaki to be specific. Kawasaki is the city directly West of the capitol of Tokyo. Last night, I was quite jet lagged and tired, so that I didn't even open my computer before I fell asleep. Today I managed to open the computer and partially catch up on stuff though I'm still jet lagged and quite sleepy as I write this. What follows might be a bit incoherent, but I am going to try and write a post before sleepiness gets the better of me.
The place where Kao is currently living is sort of a dense apartment high rise. Kind of like those public housing buildings in NYC, but is private. Bicycle parking for residents is limited and requires a minimal fee which has to be paid annually and bikes without proper registration stickers will be rounded up like the bikes in the picture above and will be disposed of if they are not claimed by the owner.
This is part of the parking space for Kao's building.
and this is Kao's mamachari bike in its designated parking spot. Not very secure by American standards, but just the O-lock on the rear wheel is security enough.
The fee for a single bike per household is very cheap, but a second spot is much more expensive. Luckily I have a folding bike which can be stored indoor without taking much space while I'm gone.
(my Dahon folded up)
It's not a bike with the best riding characteristics, but it's just fine for riding slowly weaving through pedestrian and car traffic. Riding around in small city strrets here can be quite chaotic where you are fighting space with cars and also sometimes you ride on sidewalks to avoid obstacles (like parked motorcycles) on the street.
Today was a super nice day, so we decided to go ride to Tamagawa (Tama River) which is the river that runs between Tokyo and Kawasaki.
This is a very popular cycling route that runs along river and there were lots of people out riding bikes, walking or running. It is a lovely path that runs on the top of the riverbank overlooking the river. My only complaint is that the path is rather narrow, so that you kind of have to slow down when you pass someone.
It is a fun place to ride though if you're not in a hurry which we weren't. It's nice to take a break on the river bed and watch people go by. It's a good spot for people watching as people there seem quite different than people in crowded city streets.
This was a very short outing today, but I'm sure we'll go on longer rides while I'm here.