We finally bit the bullet and bought bikes. Not just any bikes, though, hilarious foldable ones.
They fold up pretty small and are light enough to carry around.
There's a term here, "gaijin smash", which is when a foreigner does something uncustomary or illegal but no one stops them because they're all too polite here.
"Gaijin smash" also describes our driving style, pioneered by Todd. We fly around at top speed, weaving in between pedestrians on the sidewalk and cars on the street. We ride up and down the ramps next to stairs where everyone else pushes their bikes.
Thank god our bikes have little bells.
It's a blast, except when we have to ride up the huge hill coming back from dinner, or when we are carrying backpacks full of groceries. When it rains we put on our rain gear and are the only people on the road/sidewalk.
We get our train passes next week and the plan is to bring the bikes on the train with us. We've been told that's not how things work, but there's always the gaijin smash.
Unfortunately we lost our bikes. We had plans to take videos, too :(
I have a newfound respect for pedicabbers... those hills killed me.
It sounds like you are undergoing good training for the driving of a pedicab, but can you hook a trailer to those things and tow a couple people! Gaijin Smash Cab Co. or better yet design a trailer that folds and become an international gypsy pedicab... you guys are geniuses...
enough pedicab talk
I am always happy to hear about bicycles but would love to see some action shots of this weavin in and out maybe even a movie bike messenger stylel; think about it.
Those bikes are pretty common in The Netherlands since folding them will make them easy to take them with you in a train, which is used a lot to commute over here.
I dare you to drive in Amsterdam as you do in Tokyo, it's probably a different game altogether :)
Hey. I LOVE the bike thing. I linked to your site because of the "nomadic" thing.....but it has actually entertained me hugely. One day you will have to show me how to write a proper blog - complete with bells and whistles.....
Your namesake, Nomadic x
Tynan, I can just imagine you riding through a stream of pedestrians and accidentally running into one falling on the ground and then turning to the Japanese guy and say with a bewildered look, "Umm.... Gaijin Smash brother. Gaijin Smash." Roll your eyes, then get back on your bike and ride off.
I can just imagine some manga making 'gaijin smash' a total superpower. GAAAAIIIJIIIINN SMMMMAAASSSH!
Todd and I hang out a lot, which breeds a sort of familiarity that leads to every phrase being shortened as much as possible. For example, if one's laptop batteries were very low, the word "critbatts" might be invoked. So when we found ourselves standing outside of the VIP area of the X Games in LA, and Todd said, "Dude, let's just smash it", I knew exactly what he was talking about: the Gaijin Smash.
The Gaijin Smash is a term used to describe a certain way of operating as a foreigner in Japan. The Japanese are extremely polite and sometimes nervous around foreigners (Gaijin), so as a foreigner you tend to get your way. I think the phrase came about from some guy smashing his way through the subway barriers without paying, and not being stopped. Todd and I mostly used it to ride our hilarious fold-up bikes like maniacs.
Anyway, back to the X-Games. Thanks to my brother and his good friend Chase Hawk, Todd and I had passes to this year's event in LA. But our passes were weird: they were only meant to give us access to the skate park section of the course, because Chase was only riding the park. But we also had friends competing in the street course, so we found ourselves standing outside the entrance to the VIP area of the street course, wanting to watch them.
So my main focus over the last few weeks is changing the habit of commuting. I've left a job that is far away from my house to have a job closer to home to allow me to walk or bike ride to work. I'm also riding to the train station for my other job commute 2 or 3 days a week. All up, I'm also car free commuting. I gradually want to start riding to further away train stations until I'm riding the 32km to my other job, but I'm happy with this starting step for now and I'm excited for my next riding lesson on Monday morning! The classes are such fun, it's such a good investment because it's reminded me of the joy of cycling. The best moment was hearing my cycling teacher whoop with joy as we went down a hill. It was wonderful!
However, the most recent blog post by Leo has hit home with me because on Thursday I didn't feel like riding to the station. I was tired, it was 6am and cold and dark (it's autumn in Australia, so we're coming into winter) and just yucky.
But I hopped on my bike. I rode to the train station and I was proud of pushing through the avoidance and spent a lot of the day excited to ride home and it was a fun ride!
So the most recent blog post of Leo's had this quote and I think I should print it out and put it next to my bed, because it's so true and I experienced it on Thursday morning: