Sonja wrote this insightful post on her instagram account that I've kindly been allowed to share here as it's one of the most beautiful pieces of writing on Tokyo cycling culture and etiquette that I've had the pleasure of reading.
"The silence of twisting roads, squeaky creaky mamacharis, the underbelly of bike prisons, and as Andy puts it “the rhythm of everyday life.” That to me encapsulates my short experience biking in Japan for the first time.
s/o to @digtokyotours . It was a dream biking with Andy! The sense of joy he has sharing his passion of biking, made my dream of biking in Japan possible- my sense of joy limitless.
& s/o to @alchemeleon for always being a good sport. 💙
I found that the culture around bikes and biking is so much /more/ in Japan than in the United States. It resonates with me. More in the sense of cultural infrastructure. People bike on sidewalks. And it’s OK. People don’t use bells to alert pedestrians. And it’s OK. People don’t always lock up their bikes for simply popping into a konbini for a quick snack. <WHAT!> People don’t wear helmets, because cars are not a threat. And that is… hard to believe. The culture is one of caring. Kindness. Not wanting to inconvenience someone else’s day- needlessly.
Everyone rides bikes. Elders, Mothers, Salarymen, Youths going to class. Everyone one and every bike has a place. I want a country, a city, that also believes in that. A city where maybe I don’t have to proudly display a “bike lane uprising” sticker on my helmet, 4 different lights blinking away under my cities lights… anyway-I loved biking in Japan.
New goal: how to get a mamachari bike state side. 🤔🤭"
All the best with your pursuits Sonja and thanks for supporting DIG Tokyo Tours and all the local neighbourhood vendors during you stay here in Asagaya.
You can read more about Sonja's exceptional talents and endeavours here:
Sonja Lynn Mata- LATINX / Actor / Clown / Playwright