Thursday, October 25, 2007

セが 高い!

Finally I'm in the upper percentile of tall guys somewhere.
Anyway I'll try and get down some thoughts in the brief time I have.

In Osaka there are bicycles. Lots of them, behaving in ways one would be inclined to pull aside and give a lecture about how callous and irresponsible and faggy they are to be riding bikes in Australia. Not the straight sticking to the gutter riding on hume highway that I was doing back in Oz that would infuriate the drivers of campbellfield to the point of having to lean out their window and yell something lost in the crush of the doppler effect such as 'FAgn' or 'CUnn'.
I see cyclists here riding on roads and crossing from the left hand side of the street to the right and vice versa. on footpaths and riding into oncoming traffic. but its not worthy of conjuring up instant images of chaotic crazy asians cycling around transporting livestock in any way shape or form. the overall effect is pretty bland. and on average I see far less people thumping their horn or yelling at anyone. its all pretty calm. no helmets no nothing. its the land of do as you please when it comes to bikes.
And the streets are lined with them. No steel bike hoops sunk into concrete either, people just line them up on the street with a pissant lock to complete the deal that usually just immobolises the back seat. In shinsaibashi this is far more present than other cities of Japan I've been in.
The dark part of my mind says just pick up one of these bikes (I do miss my bike, the black stallion) and cut the lock with scissors and enjoy the convenience. I mean one could clean up with a pair of tin snips, a bolt cutter would make easy cutting for one of these.
but nobody does.
Same deal, the hotel I've been in the past two nights is a capsule hotel, my door is a woven read drape I pull down, no lock no nothing, I feel pretty comfortable here (if anything I'm dissapointed at how polite Osaka people are) but I know people I know who may object to sleeping so insecurely to be stabbed or molested in the night. and it is insecure just a practical reality. One becomes more conscious when ones life moves from ones apartment to something more takable such as a backpack of security.
I choose to trust people with it, and I trust them more if I pay money. However, both these trust based microeconomies, namely bike ownership and capsule (open door) hotels are almost utopic in there functionality, I'm refreshed that someone still treats security as optional not integral and provides another perspective of looking at society.
It all works here because there's a basic trust that nobody is a thief, it is simply below the japanese peoples dignity in the day to day sense, I'm sure all these crimes exists but in the alienating closeness of a city like Osaka, people in numbers choose to trust.
My bike got stolen locked to a hoop next to a basketball court in broad daylight where people where playing. What's the tradeoff to get a society from there to Osaka, what did it cost Japan to get so trustworthy?

No comments: