- 12 . 10 . 04
Yet another bike related incident in Japan, involving a lost key, a screwdriver and a new lock.
Bikes, Thieves, US Land
Two weeks ago there was a bit of a fiasco involving my bike. I lost my bike key while playing pool at US Land, leaving it immobile and forcing me to start taking the bus again. For a few days I kept going back to see if my key had turned up, only to be greeted with aGomen nasai each time. Taking the bus and being pushed by old ladies was by now getting the better of me. Enough was enough I thought, so last week into US Land I went and bought a couple of screwdrivers, some long nose pliers and a hammer. Being a ¥100 store, the total was ¥420 – some arbitrary things are ridiculously cheap in Japan.
Now tooled up, I set about removing the lock. Of course, because life’s like that, the thing was welded on and totally unremovable. In retrospect, I guess I should have realised this, otherwise anyone could just pinch your bike. Indeed, at any other time I would have been happy. Well, after a long time pissing about, out comes a store worker with a huge screwdriver and asks if he can help. I tried to explain that it was welded on, but he just grinned at me so I gave up and let him have a go. His solution was simple; jam the screwdriver into the lock and wrench it about violently until it was totally broken. I was impressed, not least because he was Japanese and typically Japanese people aren’t prone to acts of violence.
This left only one slight problem. My bike had a broken, unlockable and unremovable lock, and was once again totally insecure. As I’ve learned to my cost, a bike without a lock in Japan lasts about as long as a Man United fan in the Anfield Kop. The simple solution? Another brief sojourn to US Land for a shiny new lock at the bargain price of ¥105.
So, a secure and usable bike for the price of ¥525 plus a few bus rides and a few hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Not so bad. A hassle to be sure, but not so bad.
Yesterday, my bike was stolen.