Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nearly every time I check this blog I find posts that I wonder if I have somehow written. It's full of observations about Tokyo things that I thought only I noticed. Perhaps I am not entirely crazy after all. Or perhaps I am not the only one who is.

Tokyo rain etiquette. In addition to her comments, I enjoy the way that folks will stop in front of any exit---subway, shop---and block everyone else while they leisurely open their umbrella (after removing it from the vinyl umbrella wrap) before stepping out into the rain as if a single drop on an unprotected noggin would be fatal. And mama-chari-ists swerving into a pedestrian's path to avoid a .0001mm puddle? Hell , some will swerve directly into the path of another on a road bike at speed risking serious or fatal injury to avoid a wet tire. Oh, the stories that I could tell....


  1. I'm glad that I am also not crazy and that you echo my sentiments!

    I get e-mail from people who spent a week in Japan who contradict my 21 years of experience by saying it didn't happen to them so therefore it mustn't happen. Yeah, it's easy to see people as polite when you spend a short time here. Live it day-in and day-out and then we'll talk, Japanophiles!

  2. Oh yes, the "I spent a week in Hotel Okura and everyone was so polite and friendly especially when I handed over cash" syndrome. I shall henchforth refer to this as the Tyler Br^ule' (oops) syndrome at the risk of getting another nastygram.

    I don't find too many Japanese who believe that stuff---only foreigners.

  3. Anonymous9:05 PM

    I'd be surprised if 1000 things didn't already have a post on it, but bicycle manners in general are pretty awful. I don't know how many times I've had my bag clipped, and I've even my had headphones snatched from my head and broken by the errant handlebars of people riding too fast down crowded sidewalks. They seem to presume that a dinging bell is the same as an ambulance siren.
    Okubo is the worst for this, in my experience.

  4. I ride several thousand miles a year along the Tama River and have seen the most unbelievable negligence on the part of cyclists I have ever experienced. I have been hit a several times, most minor, but only because I have developed a sixth sense for avoiding the more extreme fools. Many people---including Japanese cyclists refuse to ride there because of the danger.

    Several years ago I asked a Japanese friend who was also a road bike enthusiast where it was safe to ride in Tokyo. He looked at me as if I were some sort of idiot and said "I don't know. Probably nowhere."

    The koban crowd is almost as bad as the average mama-chari rider.

    What makes things worse is the cycling boom of the last few years and many of the new road cyclists have transferred their mama-chari "skills" to road bikes. It has instilled a sense of dread in me for cycling and I have now become very selective about the times and places I ride.

    It may be hard to believe, but many traffic violations on a bicycle are actually violations of criminal law. Supposedly, that is why Koban Sitters don't enforce laws against cyclists often---because it could result in criminal prosecution. Or so I have read.

    I assume that cyclists have the right of way at all times and may run down and kill those in their way. Kept me alive so far.