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Saturday, June 27, 2009

No parking

駐車(輪)禁止

Police parking warning.

I have been parking my bike across from the office building in Tokyo’s Kojimachi district for the 18 months or so since we moved into the office. I lock it to the railing between the two apartment buildings across the road.

Bike parked in Kojimachi.

For the first time, about a month ago, as I was leaving the office after a small party – admittedly a little worse for wear – I was accosted by an old codger in his mid-to-late-fifties, the kind who wears a permanent, childishly petulent, grimace. One glance at him and I knew it was trouble, and, sure enough,
“Parking your bike there is a nuisance.” (Soko de tomeru to jama da yo!)
Being slightly tanked I put up a bit of resistance.
“How is it a nuisance?”
“It’s difficult to get past”
… which was patent nonsense. Where it was parked was nowhere near the entrance to his building (the building on the right in the photo), and space left between my bike and the kerb was still considerably wider than the average doorway.
I got on my bike, wished him goodnight, and that was that.
Until today, when I found a police notice stuck to it:
“This vehicle is illegally parked – No parking – Please move [your vehicle] as quickly as possible – Police Department, Kojimachi Police Station”
And, in handwriting, “A complaint was received, 6/25, 14:00”

Bike with no parking notice.

I have no doubt who made the complaint – old Sour-Face – but I can’t really go against the Law. Although, speaking of which, is it coincidence that I came out of the office only the day before (the 24th) to find that my front tire was flat? Not only flat, but with a deep, half-centimeter cut in it, and, strangely, I thought, no sign of any glass or metal fragment that, for a cut that deep, you’d expect to find embedded there.

Furthermore, is it a coincidence, too, that my front tire suffered a puncture only two weeks ago?

Japanese neighborhoods are delicate terrain. Tread, pedal, and park, carefully.

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