Top 5 annoying things in Japan (Part 3 – Bikes (AKA bicycles)


So, who doesn’t enjoy a bike ride? Not many of us, I guess. But, in Japan where the non-existent bike manner exists, the “can’t see you so it’s fine” attitude and the rules that suit the police when it suits them and the overall absolute crazy things, I see drives me to insanity.

Let’s revisit my number one hate; being on the wrong side of the road! Thinking you are right, or you are just too stupid and lazy to do otherwise does not mean you are right. In fact, you know you are in the wrong so why do it? The ONLY reason they are on the wrong side is because they do not want to lose a split second by crossing the road. If they are on the wrong side, they can simply cruise around the corner.

So, tell me what happens when there is another bike there or a car or pedestrians? They nod their head or just ignore you. One time someone hit me with their bike. I won’t go into detail about what happened but let’s just say it was pretty

Then we have the police who will randomly stop you (foreigners) and check that the bike belongs to you. This drives me insane. Firstly, so what? It’s a cheap bike. If it is a really expensive bike or a racing bike, then sure I can sort of understand. Otherwise it’s an excuse to check YOU are legal. An easy catch as I like to remind them.

Then we get to the parking of bikes. Now this is an issue, a big issue. Many Japanese will park their bike where it says no bike parking and I always wondered how they got away with this. I regularly see a gang of old guys walking around putting red stickers on these bikes, but nothing gets done. The person comes out, rips it off and on their way. So, I recently discovered that if you get a red sticker you have a certain amount of time to move it or it gets taken away. The gang of old guys do this twice a day so really what’s the point? Also, if you come out and show you are with bike they go away. It’s CRAZY.

We also have places where you can park for free for a few hours so what does every do… PILE bikes on top of each other or squeeze them in like idiots. My latest crazy experience was at a new supermarket. They have a round twenty bike park slots where you click your wheel into the lock. Now most supermarkets have these and all of them give you 1-2 hours free parking. Even if you don’t use the supermarket it’s still free. So anyway, this new place has a rule where you can park for twelve hours for ¥100. The STUPIDEST thing is if you park and go to their supermarket and buy some goods that takes 5 minutes, you still must pay ¥100. I had a huge argument about how insane this is and left my bike until they had to pay a company to take it away.

Finally, is the bike etiquette. Simply THERE IS NONE. 90% of bikes in Japan have a very annoying squeaky brake. It happens about 5 minutes after taking it out the shop. So, when people are riding their bike on the pavement, they don’t ring their bell, they use the annoying squeak to annoyingly let you know they are there! What not use the bell? Well I very recently learned that they think ringing the bell is rude….. WHAT?!?!

Article written by David
Photos by David

Top five annoying things about Japan (part 1)



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