Japan does a fabulous job integrating rail, planes and automobiles with neighborhoods that are full fledged mixed use developments and designed around the basics, walking and bicycling. It’s nifty. Here are a few images and observations from past trips. More to come.
In Japan you see people walking and bicycling everywhere. All the school kids go that way, and you can take the train just about anywhere to connect to places further away. Lots of business people ride in the city carrying their brief cases all dressed up. Everybody walks and rides.
For longer trips mainly we travel by train in Japan. You see a lot from the train. You can focus on the countryside as it spools by your window. Train time is also good for reading, having a chat, or snoozing. The operators wear formal uniforms and conduct affairs with supreme dignity and precision, so it is easy for me—a notorious control freak and “back seat driver”—to lean back and relax. Unlike airplanes when I glance out the window at the engines to see if they are still attached to the wings, on the train I do not worry.
In coastal towns, which is where most people live, daily seafood markets team with people. Japanese want to eat fresh food. Whereas American farmers markets happen seasonally and perhaps once weekly, in Japan they do the trip to the market just about every day. Fresh and delicious eating. They wouldn’t have it any other way. Very particular and sophisticated society.
I have done a lot of walking in Japan but rolling on two wheels will be different. Bicycling has a way of opening up the world and connecting people. I’m in my element riding a bike. Eating, traveling, meeting people, learning language, seeing places, laughing, bicycling. The mountain roads in Japan are incredible. I hope to get some climbing in and sample the flavors of riding.
Japan is beautiful. I’ve visited Japan five times but have not bicycled there. Mai and I are preparing for a trip this May and I’m planning to ride there for the first time. I will be writing about and documenting the trip with photographs to convey a sense of what it is like.