Monday, August 30, 2004

I Like to Ride My Bicycle . . .

I like to ride it where I like . . . . It’s time for me to refocus on one of the original motives for my beginning this blog: propagating the message that Aomori prefecture is wickedawesome! Yes. Yes it is. On Saturday I determined to go into Mutsu “City” for supplies. I needed to get a multi-media reader and a memory stick for my laptop. I also wanted to recce Uni Qlo to begin laying the groundwork for my transformation into J-man. Buying running shoes and a bicycle were to be tentative secondary objectives, depending on the ground. I was going to take the bus, but while I was laying in bed wondering whether to get up yet, my supervisor called to say that his daughter was driving into Mutsu, so I hitched a ride. Mutsu is a small city, but it is still a pain to walk from one end to the other and that, of course, is exactly what I had to do. Nevertheless, every mission was accomplished in its turn until finally I made my way to the bus terminal and discovered a bike shop in its vicinity. I am an impulse buyer, and since there were only four bicycles to choose from, and since one of the bikes fit my criterion perfectly, the impulse had the better of me in about thirty seconds. Awesome Aomori, point one: I had been thinking that I would ride the bicycle the forty kilometres back to my village, but the shop keeper’s wife said they would deliver the bike. Relieved, I told her what she had just saved me from, and then she offered to deliver me along with the bike. So I got a free ride home!

This is the bike. Cheap (¥38,000), and possibly fragile. The handle bars are pretty creaky, but those are only used for steering and balance, anyway. It’s marketed as a mountain bike, but its tires seem to be geared towards asphalt. In other words, a real piece of junk to the initiated, but to an amateur like me who just wants to putter around on gravel roads and go to the 温泉 (hot spring public baths), it is perfect.

Behold, awesome Aomori point two! This is what I longed for when I was living in Toronto. This is what my village looks like just a ten minute bike ride from my house!

And of course, as always, I had to have some fun with my cell phone. I got this picture by tying my cell phone to a plastic pipe stuck in the edge of the road and videoing myself climbing down the embankment and up the tree. Then later, I used Microsoft Moviemaker to save one of the frames in the video as a picture. Mountains, forests, rivers, the sea—Aomori rocks!