17 December 2007

Bikes and Parties

Yesterday we had a Christmas Party for all the kids and their parents from the English School. It was a stack of fun with the kids and nice to meet their parents. We sang a few Christmas songs, played some fun games, opened presents, and had a nice meal together. Then we blew up balloons and popped them! Came home to relax for the evening.

Bicycles are far more common here in Hiroshima than in Australia. In Australia, bikes are relegated to Sunday afternoon fun, serious cyclists, and a smaller group of people who use them as their primary mode of transport.

But, here in Hiroshima (and probably most of Japan, I'm guessing), it seems most people use bikes to get around. Yes, there are a lot of cars, but also lots of bikes! When I first got to Hiroshima, I saw the bikes here, and most of them look like the old-style bikes you'd see in Australia 50 years ago... but, many of them are actually new. You can buy these types of bikes new.

Around the streets, you see pretty much anyone riding a bike... dressed up business men in the suits and ties, office laides in the smart attire, school boys and girls, mothers with their kids riding on the back of the bike, grandfathers slowly pedalling along... everyone's in it together. And, parking can be quite a challenge here. In Australia, just park your bike were you like (almost), even in the CBD of the large cities. But here, because there are so many bikes, you can usually only park in designated areas, costing 100 yen for parking etc.

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