Tag Archives: Enjoy

Night Shift

Silent Hill 3?

I’ve been thinking about moving recently, to Shimokitazawa, perhaps, to be closer to an active community of young, frenetic artists. However, since I’ve purchased an amazing Presta valve-compatible foot-activated pump for the Trek, I’ve been immensely enjoying riding up and down the Yamanote Line. This bicycle is a golden chariot nimble as a scalpel when slicing up smooth pavement. And the roads at three in the morning are blessedly barren of traffic, so I dart through intersections with the whistle of the wind in my ears.

From my ideally located command center in Yoyogi, in fifteen minutes I can get anywhere from Takadanobaba to halfway between Ebisu and Shibuya on this baby, every sinew loving the efficient euclidean bond between my feet and the Huret drivetrain.

Tonight I left work around nine-thirty, tried to take the Enjoy to Cosmos Cafe in Shibuya (but had to leave it in the parking lot with a flat), taxied up Miyasamazaka to see the Kawaki sisters’ dance, and then sped home to print up more flyers for the show. Around one-thirty I pried myself away from Beer Fest and beat up Meiji Street to catch Mayu’s DJ set at Emotional Signal in Waseda. Now it’s past four and I am almost exhausted. The standard fair six hours’ sleep, and tomorrow I help Okada-san move. Ah, joie de vivre.

Back across the Tamagawa

Today I rode into Kawasaki for the first time in about half a year. I meant to take the Trek, and spent a good long time filling up the tires with the hand pump, but ultimately it was deemed unsafe for riding. Lack of use and being ferried in and out of the apartment half a dozen times has knocked a number of joints out of whack, and it’s not a stable ride. There are also the beginnings of rust on bolts and the chain, simply being covered doesn’t cut it, the poor girl is still outside most of the time.

So, since I had a date to keep I got on the unflagging Enjoy and did another 36 kilometer dash into my western neighbor. It’s ironic that a hundred dollar Chinese made jalopy made for shuttling between the grocery store and back is so easy to maintain. The odometer is over 2300 kilometers now, but that belies how much mileage I’ve put on the thing, since the device is less than two years old and I forget where I put it half the time after locking up. So probably we’re somewhere around 8000 kilometers now, but I have a feeling the battery will give out before I turn over 9999.

Anyway, as I said I had a meeting today in Kawasaki’s Takatsu-ku, recorder practice for my obligatory company band recital of Sukiyaki Friday. I made pretty good time, but unfortunately almost every convenient way into Kanagawa is a real pill to do on bike. The major roads are loaded with cars and buses, the air quality sucks and the street is all torn up along the very narrow shoulder. Once you get into Kanagawa though, and start down the nice jogging trails they have along the river, it’s all worth it. The rocky clouded skies at dusk are always dramatic, the lights of Kawasaki twinkle, and a flood of memories come rushing over the bank. It just about this time two years ago that Mikiko decided she was going to France for study, and we spent a quiet evening by the river drinking cold beer and talking in hushed, solemn tones.

I saw Ratatouille the other day, and I blanched a bit when Gusteau was spurring Remi out of the sewer for the first time, “If you always are looking back, you’ll never see what lays before.”

Oh, but what a hell of a look back it is.

Bicycle upgrades, plans

Around the end of last year my Enjoy just about hit rock-bottom. This was pretty much the culmination of three and a half years of being left to the elements and hard riding, but the kicker was my less than humorous brush with serial vandalism which required about four tube changes and eventually forced me to replace the rear tire. It’s not that I mind taking apart the bicycle, but the money and multiple trips to the store for parts was adding insult to injury considering my housing crisis. After my three “children” were moved out of harm’s path, I eventually had a chance to install a number of upgrades I’d been planning on for a while.

Since rain and open air means rust to lesser metals, all sorts of things were snagging on the shredded of my front basket. The real crime though was an aluminum can of Ebisu beer that was punctured and lost on a routine return trip from Shibuya to Shinjuku. I ended up removing the unit completely.

With the acquisition of the Trek, the Enjoy’s status as a work horse was solidified, so I made it a point to add as many “convenience” features as possible. Among these are a can holder for “juice”, and a rear cargo rack for oversized purchases or undersized (fine-boned) passengers.

Although I’ve had it installed for quite some time now, I do also have a Cateye cycle computer mounted on the handlebars. From my estimates I ride about 4500-5000 kilometers a year on commuting and weekend shopping runs, which is roughly a trip coast-to-coast in the States. Not impressive, but enough to make me start to think about an ergonomic seat. ^^;; To complement this, I added a compass to the Trek for voyages into foreign territory, though this is more for venturing out to the sticks than the city.

Aside from the standard day-to-day improvements, I’ve been playing with the idea for a while about a visual overhaul for the Enjoy. Proposed ideas have ranged from the conservative (a bright orange repaint) to the flamboyant (hand painted body panels and a steering wheel-size angel’s head on the basket). When it’ll get done remains to be seen, but I have an awfully satisfying imagine of getting up early on a Saturday morning in summer and toiling away to finish at dusk, glazed with the salt of dried sweat and sitting arms-on-knees in the driveway, beaming with satisfaction.

Tuning gear and brake tension is probably the most difficult maintenance I’ve performed so far, with the Enjoy’s friction-based single gear system edging out the dual derailleur setup on the Trek in terms of requisite finesse (frustration). The next big challenge I have is one of the greatest delicacies a bicycle mechanic can encounter: truing a wheel via spoke wrench. As of now I have the tool, but still lack the knowledge of how to use it properly. Hopefully I’ll get around to that sometime soon, as four years of road bumps and near-catastrophic collisions with oblivious children has added a little more lateral movement into my travel than I’m comfortable with.

Life, cut.

Originally recorded December 16, 2006

My finger is rather tender, I accidentally put it in the revolving wheel of my bike while trying to turn on my headlight last night. It bled pretty bad.

Right now I’m in front of the Manboo manga kissa (internet cafe) next to Don Quixote on Yasukuni dori, and it’s harder to type than thought. Sambo Master is keeping me company, but today I’m really supposed to be looking for a new place to live. My trusty bicycle is laden with the most important elements I could take from my blessed rotting apartment last night, stuffed with hard disks and clothes that have sentimental value.

I could go to Yotsuya, I could live in Ueno. I dwell in the seat of fashion at Gaien or Jingumae, but I hope to avoid the humdrum of so many commuters migrating daily in a nondescript surburban malise.

It is just after eleven, though I already have more than a litre of beer in me. I’m not sure how many “rules” I’m breaking with this, but I think the fact I’m sitting at the top of the stairs leading into Subnade while typing on a Targus Stowaway more than makes up for it. Any time I think that I’m doing something slightly weird, consider how many of the twelve to twenty million people in the Tokyo area must be doing the exact same thing at the exact same instant. Yes, people are having orgams; yes, beer is being spilt on some municipal sidewalk; yes, someone is about to make a mistake that will change their life forever. If you think about it that way, there’s really not that much in the way of moral firewalls to keep you from doing whatever you feel like. “Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?” Yeah, maybe.

Normally, this would really piss me off, begin virtually homeless and wandering around Tokyo in the cold with two heavy rucksacks containing all the memories of my life. But actually, this is quite reminiscient of when I first came to Tokyo. Then it was the summer, incredibly hot, but I was wandering, with no schedule or particular place to go. Yes, I’m going to see James Bond tonight at seven, but other than that, I have only vague goals in mind. Having to move is still surreal, so I don’t think that I’ve really accepted it, but once I get really tired and want to just go home and watch an episode of TNG and find that I can’t, then it will sink in.

I want to do something warm and comforting, but I know it will ruin everything I have now. Ruin it in a wonderful, briefly fulfilling, but ultimately defeating way. Will I show better judgement, or bury myself in deference to umeshu? What do you think?