5/27/2010

Okazaki cycling

One facet of my life in Japan that I miss is being able to live without a car, with a bicycle as my primary mode of transportation. Between my bike and Japan's developed train system (and the occasional bus), I was able to reach most places that I wanted and needed to go. It's in no way a perfect solution—you essentially need a car to reach certain out-the-way places—but I got by just fine for two years with just my bike.

Here in Houston, the need for a car is much greater. It's certainly conceivable that you could get by without a car, but it's not very practical and it would be a lot more inconvenient, taxing, and dangerous. Everything here is spread quite far apart (where I am, anyway) and Houstonians don't really like or show much consideration for cyclists, in my experience. Take that intolerance and factor in their comparatively huge automobiles and you can likely see why biking here isn't so attractive.

I remember riding around Okazaki by myself at night. Okazaki really fell pretty dead around 11 p.m. or midnight and it was a delight to head out, sometimes in unknown directions, exploring the city at its most serene, its cool breeze in my face. I'd almost always find some nice view or attractive neighborhood or something interesting. I recall this one night that I just rode to Okazaki Station and watched the trains entering and leaving the brightly illuminated station. That was a nice one. (This is not to disparage my daytime rides, which were excellent too.)

Maybe it's because I'll be returning to Japan, to Okazaki, soon. Recently, I think I'm experience a resurgence of my feelings for the place. I look forward to going back to put things in perspective and seeing just how I feel being back, how it feels to be there, if that makes any sense.

And hopefully I can borrow a bike for a day while I'm there.

4 comments

bikenglish said...

I have heard that bicycle is the greatest invention of the twenty century, and I agree.

I hope you can enjoy riding a bike again in Japan.

ささもち said...

Since I had a backache, I haven't ridden a bicycle for a while. But I understand what you said about it.

That makes you feel refreshing, am I right?

Hope you can enjoy riding a bicycle in Japan again!

HELEN said...

when will you visit there? just wanna tell you that the station looks a little bit different.... i would like to send you photots before but i still havent put the photos in order..
well, you will know soon though....

i sneaked around yamasa..everything is the same except the lobby

i miss the time staying there and i wish i could learn more and play more

Jonathan said...

Bikenglish and Sasamochi, thank you for the kind (and refreshing) comments! I'm not sure that I'll have a bike this time around, but I'll see what I can do to get one!

Helen, I'll be in Okazaki in the middle of June. I'm surprised to hear that the station looks different, but I'd rather see the changes in person anyway, so don't worry about the photos. Yeah, those days were really great, weren't they?