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    Riding in Japan

    So this is the new thread that I said that I would post after leaving the other post in Introductions.

    I thought I would call it "Riding in Kanto," but then I thought I should start it more broad.

    Pucci and The Fixer seemed to have opinions about nice rides in Hakone. With autumn upon us, this sounds like a nice time to see the leaves change color. However, doing 100km through the mountains on my scruffy Hard Rock seems a bit daunting. Any good alternatives for those of us who are gravitationally challenged?

    Also, anyone know of any good off-road trails? Naturally, ease of access by train has to be part of the equation.

    - Jeff

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    That's funny. The Similar Threads should another thread called Riding in Japan from 6 months ago. Maybe I should have titled it "Riding in Kanto" after all.

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    Senior Member anikuma's Avatar
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    If you are ever going to cycle in Northern Tohoku let me know. Some real good rides up here, especially if you like hills. How strong is the cycling community there, other than the abudant mama-cherry bikes

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    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Ohaio Gozaimas! When I was in Okinawa we used to do a ride that headed out northeast of Okinawa Shi through Gushikawa and then crossed the ocean (on a road built up off the shallows) and went out to a couple of islands. There were a few good hills crossing the first island and a cool bridge going to the second island. Kinda fun to go island hopping on a bicycle.
    Cruising around the souther end of the island was cool too (going through Itoman, Gushkami, and Yonabaru).
    Probably not anybody riding in Okinawa on this board though.
    Sunrise saturday,
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    lost in the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikuma
    If you are ever going to cycle in Northern Tohoku let me know. Some real good rides up here, especially if you like hills
    I've been up that way on business a couple times, but it must get mighty chilly in the winter. What do you do when it gets so cold?

    How strong is the cycling community there, other than the abudant mama-cherry bikes
    If you mean Tokyo, I am not really the person to ask. It looks like rjtokyo has been pretty involved with pulling together folks.

    I have always been more of the solitary commuter type. On weekends, I rode to places that I can reach from home (about a 15km radius). However, I just got a bike bag so that I can carry the bike on a train. I have not done this in quite a few years so I am looking forward to it.

    From what I can tell by visiting local shops, there is quite a strong community for Japanese. Don't know about the foreign cycling community.

    - Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    Probably not anybody riding in Okinawa on this board though.
    Not for lack of wishing, though.

    I had Okinawa on the brain for a while since I wanted to dive Ishigaki. Never thought about it for cycling, though...

    - Jeff

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    Senior Member anikuma's Avatar
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    Chilly weather, that started about 2 weeks ago. When winter hits I sorely miss central heating. Well in Akita-ken there is one kick ass LBS. Best I've since in comparison to Joker lbs in tokyo and a few in morioka and sendai. The community foreign and local is pretty strong. In the chokai classic there were over 450 finishers in the full road bike race. Not including the those who didn't meet the time limits, or the MTN bikers. or the half course racers.

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    I was stationed in the Kanto Plains twice, once from 1968 to 1970 and again from 1976 to 1979. Absolutely loved it! Met and married my wife during the first tour.

    Most of the roads are about a Toyota and a half wide, how you gonna ride on them? The trucks were scary enough in a Toyopet wagon. I don't think I would have the guts to ride in that area.

    I would have to find some trails, if they exist.

    Good luck. And if you're ever in Ofuna, say Hi to my Mother-in-Law!
    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekRider
    Most of the roads are about a Toyota and a half wide, how you gonna ride on them? The trucks were scary enough in a Toyopet wagon. I don't think I would have the guts to ride in that area.
    In the city, the two things that scares me are: when I am riding in traffic and a bus or truck passes me as I am trying to pass a bus (don't realize how big them tires are when until you see them spinning right next to you); taxi drivers who open their doors in the middle of the street (Japanese cabs have automatic doors so you never know when one might fly open). In more open areas, I am constantly scanning for escape routes so if something happens, I can bail off the street- this is when I am glad that I am on fat tires.

    I am not a particularly aggressive rider, but it does take a certain mindset to ride in Tokyo and I avoid riding the sidewalks.

    I would have to find some trails, if they exist.
    I just got a bike bag so I intend to take my ride on the train and find some. I have seen a couple good books (in Japanese) on rides around Tokyo. I think I will probably pick one up.

    - Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikuma
    Chilly weather, that started about 2 weeks ago. When winter hits I sorely miss central heating.
    Yeah. My wife's parents live in the mountains in Gumma. Her father is a bit old-fashioned so he uses charcoal in the hori-kotasu. Makes your feet smell a bit like a barbecue, but it feels nice... until you get out and realize that the rest of the house is hovering right above freezing. I have woken up there before and seen my breath.

    Well in Akita-ken there is one kick ass LBS. Best I've since in comparison to Joker lbs in tokyo and a few in morioka and sendai.
    I like Joker and have found a couple other friendly shops around my area as well.

    I am quite impressed that there are so many good shops around. When I lived in Japan the first time, there were not as many shops and I made the mistake of taking my bike to a very local guy who only looked at me with disdain for having a mountain bike.

    - Jeff

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    Senior Member anikuma's Avatar
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    Joker was a nice store, but the staff seemed rude. Maybe I came on a bad day. But here we mainly have full 2 lane roads. Yet the only escape routes I have are into the gajin-traps(eat you alive drainage ditch). Most drivers are really polite, never had an issue. Sometimes the trucks tend to pass you real real realllllll close.

    The best is when the ojisans and obasans, and the little kids yell ganbatte

    My house is a traditional japanese style. During summer if you open up all the sliding doors, you feel like you are living on a porch. We also get a fairly common problem of roofs collapsing under the snow load.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikuma
    Chilly weather, that started about 2 weeks ago. When winter hits I sorely miss central heating. Well in Akita-ken there is one kick ass LBS. Best I've since in comparison to Joker lbs in tokyo and a few in morioka and sendai. The community foreign and local is pretty strong. In the chokai classic there were over 450 finishers in the full road bike race. Not including the those who didn't meet the time limits, or the MTN bikers. or the half course racers.
    I've always wanted to do Chokai bit it's just too far away from Tokyo

    The biggest of the hill-climb classics is Norikura with 4,000 riders! I guess we can say there's a health bike culture here. The problem is the police, who simply will not grant permission for open road racing or centuries. Even the Tour of Japan which is on the World Cup circuit is not a proper road race, but rather a series of criteriums in different reagions.

    Of well, the mountains are always there and the leaves are turning...

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    [QUOTE=anikuma]Joker was a nice store, but the staff seemed rude. Maybe I came on a bad day.

    Here are my votes for the best bike shops in Japan (sorry, I',m road biased...)

    Sagami Cycle Center in Yokohama
    Uemura Parts in Osaka and on the Web

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikuma
    Joker was a nice store, but the staff seemed rude. Maybe I came on a bad day.
    I have had good and bad days with them. Once was in between, the guy was very helpful, but did not seem too happy about it. I found the staff at their "Joker Mania" shop down the street a bit more friendly, but it's a bit more jammed. I have also been to their sister shop in Ikebukuro, Galaxy. Their staff has been even more hit and miss, but they got tons of stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by pucci
    Here are my votes for the best bike shops in Japan (sorry, I',m road biased...)

    Sagami Cycle Center in Yokohama
    Uemura Parts in Osaka and on the Web
    Where in Yokohama is Sagami Cycle Center? I would not mind checking it out if I was in that part of town, but it is a bit out of my way since I live near Shinjuku.

    Yeah, it seems like most shops tend to be MTB centric. I guess that's where their business is and with the limited space, they tend towards what sells.

    Ever ordered anything online from Cycle Base Asahi?
    http://www.cb-asahi.co.jp/
    They seem to have a pretty impressive catalog. It is comparable to online catalogs that I have seen anywhere.

    I also found a very friendly shop near Naka Meguro Station called Nukaya. They call themselves "USA Bicycle Shop Nukaya" and it is pretty much off-road centric, but they seemed like nice folks. The only thing is that the place is really small so if you are looking for something specific you are better off asking first.

    - Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toki
    I have had good and bad days with them. Once was in between, the guy was very helpful, but did not seem too happy about it. I found the staff at their "Joker Mania" shop down the street a bit more friendly, but it's a bit more jammed. I have also been to their sister shop in Ikebukuro, Galaxy. Their staff has been even more hit and miss, but they got tons of stuff.



    Where in Yokohama is Sagami Cycle Center? I would not mind checking it out if I was in that part of town, but it is a bit out of my way since I live near Shinjuku.

    Yeah, it seems like most shops tend to be MTB centric. I guess that's where their business is and with the limited space, they tend towards what sells.

    Ever ordered anything online from Cycle Base Asahi?
    http://www.cb-asahi.co.jp/
    They seem to have a pretty impressive catalog. It is comparable to online catalogs that I have seen anywhere.

    I also found a very friendly shop near Naka Meguro Station called Nukaya. They call themselves "USA Bicycle Shop Nukaya" and it is pretty much off-road centric, but they seemed like nice folks. The only thing is that the place is really small so if you are looking for something specific you are better off asking first.

    - Jeff
    Jeff,

    Sagami Cycle is in Mitsukyo - Really out of the way, but one of the best road bike shops in the world. Cycle Base Asahi has a big catalog, but sells at list price, which is pretty insane. Uemura's catalog is full of bargains http://www.uemura-cyc.com/home.html

    In Tokyo, try Narushima Friend in Sendagaya for a real hard-core road shop with high-end stock at low prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pucci
    Sagami Cycle is in Mitsukyo - Really out of the way, but one of the best road bike shops in the world.
    Once I have a road bike, this place would be on my list. Alas, I may not have one until I return to LA...

    In Tokyo, try Narushima Friend in Sendagaya for a real hard-core road shop with high-end stock at low prices.
    I love these names. I live not far from Shinjuku so Sendagaya is close, I can see riding out to check it out even if it just to browse.

    Thanks for the advice. Who knows, maybe I can convince my wife to let me get one more bike. I don't know where we would put it, though...

    BTW, any advice on good sources in Japan for used bikes? It should be someplace where I can actually touch and feel the bike.

    - Jeff

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    Toki, love your Avatar, is that Backus D? A vitamin drink?
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    Ribobitan D desu yo........exactly what it says on the bottle....
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    ...exactly what it says on the bottle....
    Obviously the picture I see must not be as legible as the picture you see...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley
    Obviously the picture I see must not be as legible as the picture you see...
    I had to really squint my eyes to read Katakana on that tiny label on my tiny monitor. ...

    George
    Last edited by roadfix; 10-19-03 at 04:15 PM.
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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Ribobitan D desu yo........exactly what it says on the bottle....
    Hey, Man, isn't that the stuff Japanese businessmen drink to shake off hang-overs?
    Mike

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    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Hey, Man, isn't that the stuff Japanese businessmen drink to shake off hang-overs?
    I was thinking the same thing, Koreans use it too for the same reason and as a pick-me-up.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    Hey, Man, isn't that the stuff Japanese businessmen drink to shake off hang-overs?
    You can say that..... so after pushing pencils for 14 hours, they'll drink til 2am, get wasted, walk to the train station, hop on the train, retreive their bicycles from the station parking lot, and finally stumble into their tiny apartments at 4am... Get up at 530am, get back on the bike, and to the train station....

    George
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    Senior Member anikuma's Avatar
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    ugh salaryman life, wouldn't wish that on anyone.....
    but there is debate about how much work do they actually do. I know the custom that staying late at work, foresaking family, shows that you are a good employee. Which usually means streching your work so it taker all 10-12 hours to do, rather than just eight hours. plus no time to ride

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anikuma
    ugh salaryman life, wouldn't wish that on anyone.....
    but there is debate about how much work do they actually do. I know the custom that staying late at work, foresaking family, shows that you are a good employee. Which usually means streching your work so it taker all 10-12 hours to do, rather than just eight hours. plus no time to ride
    This is for sure. I worked at a Japanese company in Japan as an intern. The guys would goof off a lot - smoking, drinking coffee, horsing around. They LOOKED busy, but they really didn't hussle. At the end of the day, I said, "hey, let's go get some drinks", and the reply was, "no, we have work to do". I suggested that they had been mosey-poking all day and asked what could possibly be so important now at the end of the day. One of the senior fellows finally pulled me aside and explained that they got paid time and a half after 5:00 PM and that nobody could leave before the manager anyway.

    Most workers in the big cities have such small apartments to go home to anyway, being at work is probably a relief. Imagine going home to an apartment that has less total square footage than many USA living rooms. Besides yourself, you have a wife and two kids scrunched around a table that has four sides with exactly enough space for one person per side. If every person at the table put their legs straight, two people would be pushed out. To that add a TV, clothes, a cupboard, miscellaneous stuff, and pretty soon you don't have enough room to take more than two steps without bumping into something or somebody. God bless the Japanese for their tolerence and patience.

    One thing that did always impress me was that Japanese business men can go out to drink, smoke, sing, and stay out late. They can get absolutely fried and you are sure that there is no way they will be at work the next day. However, When you arrive at the office in the morning Voila! There they are as perky as a chipmunk ready to get right back to work.

    I don't know if it is the vitamins, genetics, or samurai spirit, but Japanese businessmen can really tough it out.
    Mike

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