I recently had a meeting with my boss to mark six months since I began working at my new job here in Nagano. Things seemed to be going well, when my boss uttered that all too familiar phrase: “Liam, get on your bike!” (For those unfamiliar with UK slang, “Get on your bike” typically means: “Get out!” or “You’re fired!”
Thankfully, it didn’t mean I was getting a pink slip. He literally meant that he thought it was time I bought a bike.
As much as I love working in the countryside and the far more sedate pace that comes with it compared to the hustle and bustle of Osaka, getting around can be a bit of a problem — especially when it comes to getting in and out of work in the morning.
Now, where I live, there are basically no buses and the train only runs twice per hour. My schools are nowhere near the train and bus stops anyway. So, I guess I can understand why the bosses are keen for me to get a bicycle on the road as soon as possible.
At the moment, I walk to and from the schools I work at each day. My furthest school is about five kilometers away so I can comfortably reach it in about an hour or so.
However, the more I thought about what my boss said, the more it made sense: buying a bike wouldn’t just make getting in and out of work easier, it would give me a lot more free time before and after work, too. Not to mention that riding on a sunny day — fresh air, breezes, a little exercise and all that — is quite good fun, too.
Today I want to share info with you how one goes about acquiring a bike in Japan, making it roadworthy and ensuring full compliance with the laws of the land. It’s probably not as simple here as it may be in your home country. It’s often said that the Japanese have rules upon rules for everything — and cycling is no different. It’s not as simple as just buying a bike and pedaling it.
Indeed, as we lay out in our Japan 101 section: Japanese cycling laws are stringent. Much more so than those I was used to back in Scotland, probably because bike use is far more common here.
Click here to read more.
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