One of my favorite activities is riding a bike around Tokyo. Though, I’ve had a couple of run-ins with the fuzz— once, I was stopped for not turning the front light on, and the next day, I was stopped for biking too close to the Diet (Japanese parliament). Must’ve been because I was BWB, or biking while bearded. Not to mention, the first day I took it out for a spin, a couple of people made fun of me for having a ママチャリ (mama chari), or bike with a basket in front. Tough crowd.
In any event, having a bike is a great way to locate neighborhood tofu shops, batting cages or hey, fishing ponds. That’s right, the next time you’re on break and want to give your ears a rest from pachinko parlors, shuffle on over to the Ichigaya
(市ヶ谷) neighborhood for some angling. Not that the area is terribly popular with tourists (it’s not far from the Ministry of Defense; come to think of it you might learn a lot more than fishing if you know some Japanese…), if you are historically inclined, the Ichigaya Fishing Center is located in the old outer moat of Edo (present-day Tokyo) Castle. In case you needed a reminder of your dense surroundings, the Chuo-Sobu train rumbles on in the background.
Do you like fishing? Do you think it would be better if there was a trained sushi chef (板前), or itamae waiting on the sidelines?
You were teased for having a front basket? Is it considered feminine or something? I miss cycling. In Cambridge, UK I had a big Dutch Bakfiets that I rode all over town. I biked once here in Hong Kong (On a normal bike. I sold the big bike in Cambridge where the market price was high.). The hills, humidity and traffic, made it…rather unpleasant.
Oh yes, because mama chari roughly translates to “granny bike,” so merely having a basket in front subjected me to a bit of ridicule. Now, if I had a Bakfiets in Tokyo, that would be even less dignified, however I could charge drunk people to give them a ride home.
Do you ever go on a bike ride in HK? Are the residential bubbles of the 新界 gaining bike lanes?
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