The Bicycle in Japan
In Japan, the bicycle is as ordinary as the dawn: almost everybody rides in every weather, from bank presidents to housewives with a kid or two, in ordinary clothes on bikes that epitomize ordinariness. Large housing blocks and metro stops have bicycle parking structures, and busy shopping districts may even have pay parking lots for bikes. The bicycle is everywhere: sidewalks, streets, in hallways, in front of markets, inside malls, on special bikepaths, arrayed in rows by the tiny city apartments that line the cozy city alleys, left at random in odd nooks of the complex cities and calm towns of that island nation. Day and night, everywhere you go, the bicycle is there.
And the bicyclist is everyone.
Text & photos by Richard Risemberg, August 2006; photographed in Tokyo & Osaka in November 2003.