The 50-minute walk to ICU is getting a bit much twice a day, so Rob, Katy and I decided to get bikes. We'd heard that the Seiyu department store is quite reasonable, and there's one right by our station, so we walked up this morning.
We went up to the 5th floor and found the bike department. There was no one at the desk, but we wandered round and found the ones we wanted. Obviously, we went for the cheapest ones there. They were only Y8,000! That's really good for a new bike.
After about fifteen minutes, the clerk came back and we filled out the insurance forms (insurance is only Y500) and then walked out with our brand new shiny bikes!
The bikes come with all the regular features of a Japanese bike, although I think some of them are amazing! The way they lock is quite cool. You put the key into the lock to ride it, and then when you stop you just push the lock round so it goes through the wheel's spokes, and take the key out - and it's safe! You don't have to buy anything extra, it's just all included in the framework.
The light works well too. Instead of being battery-powered, you just push the light against the wheel at night and when you ride, the turning of the wheel powers the light, so it turns itself off when you stop. How amazing is that!? I wish British bikes were like that.
You don't need a helmet to cycle to Japan, and you can go on the pavement or the road. Much less strict than at home.
And of course, being Japan, it's safe to leave the bike anywhere. Not unlocked though, as I've heard bikes are the only things to get stolen regularly in Japan.
Now I've bought it, I intend to cycle everywhere - Uni, the station, the shops... Maybe not into central Tokyo, as that would take several hours, but for the local area it's great! But of course it does mean I have to contend with the billion other bikes in Tokyo fighting for spaces!