People parking illegally on the sidewalk outside Tennoji Station in Osaka has something of a nationwide reputation. It has even made national TV, with 1000's of bicycles parked on every available inch of space around the station making walking a hazardous occupation.
Drawn by the new shopping centers of Harukas and Q's Mall more and more people are flooding into the area around Tennoji Station each day. When asked on TV why people parked their bicycles on the street, most replied that the pay-for bicycle lots were full. When the reporters investigated, the lots were, of course, half-empty.
Osakans consider it a chore (mendokusai) to have to park in a bicycle lot and pay for the privilege.
So each week the city authorities send a flat-bed truck to Tennoji Station to collect the bicycles and motorbikes and cart them off to the pound near Ashiharacho. It costs 2,500 yen to get your bicycle back as shown on a warning taped to the pavement.
As the truck was speeding off people were already parking their bicycles in the new spaces provided, safe in the knowledge that the truck wouldn't be back for a week or so. The endless game of cat and mouse continues on as it has over the last quarter of a century, that I have been observing the phenomenon.
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Osaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Naniwanishi, １-chome