*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Japan is not your home.

I'll just put this link here, for anyone who hasn't internalized this yet.  Leave.  Fuck Japan.  It's not your home, and it never can be, and many will remind you often, and remind your beautiful 'hafu' children too, and theirs also.

Those of us of all races who actually live(d) there and have/had to deal with institutionalized racism, like not being able to
  • get a loan
  • lease certain apartments
  • basically do anything without having a Japanese guarantor
  • apply for a credit card (which appears to have eased in the last three years)
  •  get a bilingual job despite being fluent in both languages because it’s “Japanese-only”
  • have a real entry in your Japanese partner’s koseki as a spouse and co-parent of their children (you get to be a footnote!)
  • get a cell phone without paying upfront because of the length of your visa; or pay upfront because you don’t have a credit card (see above)
  • be able to keep your name upon marriage or gaining citizenship
That is to say nothing of the social racism and microagressions, such as
**Note that most of these are not unique to Japan, especially the last point. That still doesn’t make it okay.

Saturday 25 January 2014

Is that why I'm tired?

This guy is my Tyler Durden?  I am Jack's sense of deja vu.

The last one is productivity by hours worked.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Best bike commuting route.

Sigh... This route sucks at the end.  For no accountable reason the bridge at the end of it, besides being a hell of a climb for my fixed-gear, has terrible pavement: think swimming in molasses.  Going through Sunamachi to avoid that last bridge I have done: busy and narrow - Japan.  I may quit this after all.

I'd given up on commuting by bike in Tokyo, because my route took me through the heart of the city, and even if Tokyo drivers are better than Toronto's, that's some faint praise.  It's a numbers game: cycle with enough drivers, no matter how skilled some are, aware the cyclist is, or lucky, you're going to go down.  How many times can you go down and get hurt as little as I did?

The other thing about Tokyo cycling is that even when it isn't dangerous, it's stressful and unpleasant: treeless, narrow, crowded and full of long lights.  This was my old route, though the two ends of the route are intentionally misleading for the sake of privacy.  There's just no way to make that ride pleasant, and I tried many minor alterations.

View Larger Map

If only, I'd long thought, I could use the bike path down the Arakawa, go through Odaiba with its wider roads, and over the 'Rainbow Bridge' back to the mainland, avoiding the crush of downtown.

View Larger Map

However, that bridge, and the road tunnels to the south of it, are closed to bicycle traffic.  The bridge has a pedestrian level built too narrow to accommodate bikes safely, because stupid: there are tens of thousands who use that bridge by car, bus and the Yurikamome line, and tens of thousands who live on the landfill side of it.  Oh, it's not open mornings until nine.  But there must be a ferry, right?  The ferries don't like bikes at rush hour, and the best choice is not that frequent and leaves me at Hinode Pier after a slow puttering.  No.

So give up.  Arististhenes is nothing if not a stubborn bastard: 'multi-modal'.  I ride down the Arakawa, and take the Rinkai line from its first stop where I don't get a seat, but neither am I as sardined as on my regular trains.  I leave the bike in Shin-Kiba for 100y, get it back the same route on the way home, and it still costs me a bit less and takes only an extra quarter hour for getting almost 50km of ride in, return.

View Larger Map

Did it the other day and it went off without any bigger hitch than my preferred bridge was under construction, and there's no shelter along the river from afternoon northerlies.  This is going to become a habit.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

My Tokyo bicycle commuting is over.

Tokyo drivers in the dark drive as badly as Toronto drivers do always.

Funny thing, despite the statistics saying Toronto has four times the fatality rate per capita cycling as Tokyo, it doesn't mean there are fewer collisions for cyclists like me:
- I have been cut off more here and bumped into things more, avoiding them
- there are fewer collisions at speed, as traffic is slower, so fewer consequences
- most Tokyo cyclists dink about their neighbourhood about as far as I'd stroll on a whim, so aren't out on the avenues with me
- Tokyo is a car centred city as much as N.American ones, except for the nuclei around its stations
- Tokyo drivers are profoundly worse after sunset, which is earlier than Toronto, writing off much of the year (because streets are much more poorly lit by streetlamps, because your bike lights are competing with the neon clutter of the city, or another factor?)
- it is an unrelievedly ugly city along its avenues
- with more than double the lights per km than Toronto
- there are no off road paths anywhere you can use them for a commute