06 April, 2016

Bike parking creativity

Well I unexpectedly ended up back at the doctor today with a 尿路感染 (nyōro kansen, or urinary tract infection). I've had many of these in my life, but rarely in Japan. Today was going to be at great day of getting on top of editing work, but it's not happening. This has taken the spring out of my step. Hopefully, though, the antibiotics will kick in soon and I'll be back on deck. 

I wanted to show you this photo. Our doctor is only 850m from our house so we usually ride our bikes there unless someone is too ill to do so (it's flat, so not a hard ride). Most other people do the same, or walk. 
After 1 1/2 hrs of working my way through the system I finally got back to my bike to ride home. This scene struck me as typical Tokyo. It's is the clinic's car park. Not a car in sight. It is not the bike park, but when I arrived the bike park was full so I improvised and was the first to park here (in a corner where you can't put cars). An elderly lady arrived on her bike at the same time I did and we both looked in despair at the overfull bike parking place. 

I said, "Let's park over there (pointing to this vacant corner of the car park)." 
She doubtfully said, "Over there?" 

At that moment another patient came out and removed his bike, so she happily slotted hers into that spot. I continued with my original plan.

Parking your bike, just like your car, in Tokyo can be a problem. The clinic has no space between it and the road. Walk out the front door and you are on the road immediately. There is no unused space outside the clinic apart from the bike park. The car park is a few metres down the road. 

A strong value here is not being in other people's way, so obviously parking my bike in a doorway or on the road wasn't going to work.

The bike park was still full when I left, but obviously my creative parking had encouraged others to join me. Japanese people love rules and struggle, much more than Westerners, with situations for which no rule exists.  

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