Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Japanese bicycle can sometimes be seen alone, but more often they will be found in groups. Rental bicycles will often be found in pairs, and it is suspected that romance is the cause.
Actually many tourist towns have bicycles to rent and they are a great way to get around. The above pair who spotted in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, a particularly good place for cycling as the tourist sites are scattered over the whole town.
These rental bikes in Iwami Ginzan, Japan's newest World heritage Site, come with matching umbrellas, though it is now against the law to cycle while holding an umbrella.
Foreigners riding bicycles will often be stopped by the police. This is not racial profiling, simply responding to common sense as foreigners are the main cause of crime in Japan! These rental bikes in Taisha Town, Izumo, are clearly marked with large numbers therefore informing the police that they are probably ridden by tourists and therefore don't need to be stopped and checked,... just watched carefully. *(see note below)
It is commonly believed that japanese bicycles sleep standing up, but as this photo shows they will lay down and take a nap sometimes when in the safety of the group.
Most Japanese bicycles do though sleep standing up, and bicycle capsule hotels can be found at most railway stations.
However, if you want to see really huge herds of japanese bicycles, the place to go is any large shopping mall.
* note: ... sarcasm on my part. The crime rate among foreigners in Japan is slightly less than the crime rate for japanese, but the perception among Japanese, fueled by media, police, and government, is that it is much higher. I conducted an informal survey among Japanese aquaintances and they guessed a foreign crime rate of between 60% to 25%. The actual rate is 2%.