American Bike Punks In Tokyo... Continued.
had been riding every day, and not once had I been stopped. When I told Jong this, he said, “Of course. You’re white.”
Jong is from the Philippines and according to him the only people cops really stop and harass are those who look “third world.” As long as your bike is registered and you have ID on you, all the cops can do is stop you for a couple of minutes, but like I said—there are police stations everywhere—so if you aren’t white nor of Japanese descent this could potentially put a real damper on your Tokyo bike experience.
If you like city riding because of the excitement you’ll like Tokyo. Beyond the typical car traffic I was used to in the states there are motorbikes up the wazoo in Tokyo. While you’re cutting past cars motor bikes are cutting past you, and to make things even more hairy, every time someone on the street lifts their hand in the air a taxicab comes out of nowhere to try and kill you (if you ride in Manhattan you may feel a pinch of nostalgia as you swerve for your life). Another interesting note is that cabs in Tokyo have automatic doors, so you never really know when a cab door might open. Though nothing has come of it thus far, I thoroughly expect to be doored by a robot under the control of a cabbie gone mad.
Bikes in Anime
Hayate no Gotoku (Episode 1)
Yu Yu Hakusho (Episode 79)
The motor bikes, cabs, and omnipresent threat of robot attacks definitely up the adrenaline factor, but some of the most overwhelming biking can come from navigating through swarms of pedestrians under the neon lights of Tokyo’s shopping districts. There are literally hundreds of people crossing the street at once in these areas, and unlike the cars they are all going at different speeds and in different directions. My best advice is, “Take it slow and keep your eyes wide open,” because it’s like flying in an asteroid field.
Sorry/Excuse Me = Sumimasen
On the flip side Tokyo’s roads are really well kept, so you’re going to miss the pothole dodging so popular in many American cities. Also, random angry outbursts from motorists seem to be limited. People do honk sometimes, but only when Brian and I were doing something stupid and illegal. If you’re doing just one of the two, people seem to keep any alarm they may have to themselves.
If you love to ride your bike you’ll love to ride your bike in Tokyo. It’s that simple. Just try to stay on the left side of the road.