Author: Kangaeroo

Beautifully Breaks the Tama River Morning

Mornings can be hard to get up for, particularly in the cold and dark of winter.

Yet, some things make it worth waking early for.

Waking, then moving, can be a great way to start the day.

It can get the body working and warmed up before the mind takes over, or even put the mind in a decent space.

In Kangaeroo’s case, it’s handy. The mind is rarely friendly.

Winter 2021-2 has not been particularly constructive.

Moved to a home last year, renovations kept it dark….for three months.

Work is not going well. Laid off three times in 2021. Not feasible to retire.

Bike breakdowns, and no replacement parts owing to supply problems.

Camera stops working and repairs cost as much as a new one.

Working extra jobs to try to recover lost income.

Can’t ride, can’t shoot, can’t avoid work. Darkness.

But the glorious mornings are worth waking for.

The gorgeous light as it breaks through the dark. The solitude. The serenity.

Make it all worthwhile.

Dekochari, Proud Member of Japan’s Itasha ‘Cringeworthy Cars’ Family

Long past their heyday, even in English-language coverage, dekochari, decorated bicycles, continue to survive in miniscule numbers even in today’s Japan.

Dekochari derived from the dekotora, decorated trucks, that became hugely popular throughout the archipelago in the 1970s on the back of the Torakku Yaro series of films, and which seem to be a symbol of Japan for some right through to this day.

Dekochari are ordinary bicycles adorned with flashing lights, blaringly loud horns, flags, chrome panels, mirrors and assorted other ornaments.

Most of the dekochari are handmade by kids too young to get a license, and many are crafted by those aspiring to one day drive a dekotora.

(Kangaeroo remembers plenty of dekotora on the roads in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but they are a rarity nowadays, at least in western and central Tokyo.)

Many of the dekochari aficionados are connected online at least, and pre-pandemic would sometimes take part in dekotora display shows.

There appears to be a market for dekochari merchandise anyway, with most online retailers catering to the hobby.

Dekochari are part of a much broader category of vehicle known as itasha: literally, cringeworthy cars. These are vehicles, mostly passenger cars, adorned with pictures of mostly favorite anime characters.

Itasha are hardly common, but are on the roads often enough to not be particularly noteworthy.

The ita of itasha is the adjectival form of itai, or painful, and refers to how the vehicles are painful to look at, painful on the wallet and painfully embarrassing.

Check out a gallery of dekochari accessible through links on this page.

Japan Has an Awesome Subculture of Gundam-Style Bikes

So It Goes…

Today marks farewell to Premiership Palace.

Kangaeroo is no longer a Kanagawa kenmin (resident of Kanagawa Prefecture) from Kurokawa.

Well, at least not after today.

If nothing else, at least the pandemic allowed Kangaeroo to explore the neighborhood, getting to know what a delightful place it was.

Time in Kanagawa has been very kind to Kangaeroo.

In addition to allowing for a ramping up of cycling efforts, it has also been the place where he could watch his beloved Richmond Tigers become the most dominant team in Australian football.

When Kangaeroo arrived in Kanagawa, the Tigers were something of a laughing stock.

Out of the blue, they won that year’s premiership, were hot favorites but missed out the following year and then won the two subsequent flags.

Things haven’t been too great this year, but the season is far from over yet despite more pandemic pressure.

Eat ’em alive!

Farewell Kurokawa, Kanagawa, I loved you dearly and thank you wholeheartedly. A new chapter awaits, starting today.

What a Gift!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, May is, in Kangaeroo’s opinion, the nicest time of the year in Japan.

Having said that, 2021 has been a little out of the ordinary.

Where we are normally blessed with dry, warm, sunny weather at this time of year, but much of the month has been bleak and sodden.

Combined with preparation for a move of home, conditions have conspired to curtail Kangaeroo’s much-loved cycling at a time when it was expected to peak.

This effect was demoralizing, leading to excess eating, dearth of exercise and a downward spiral of mental and physical deterioration. It doesn’t take much!

But it doesn’t take much to bounce back, either, and Mother Nature blessed us with a week’s worth of weather typical of May, inspiring bucketloads of delight.

And little more delight came from the spectacular show that the natural world turned on early this morning. It was a delightful gift and appreciated with heartfelt gratitude.

May It Be That Way

May is’s favorite time of the year.

Normally, dry, warm and sunny, flowers bloom and the month is a visual and sensual delight.

This year has been unseasonably sodden, but that’s good practice for the upcoming rainy season that will begin in early June.

Normally, May is a great time for relaxing and cycling, but this year has also been a bit different.

Kangaeroo is on the move and has spent most of the month getting ready for the shift.

In that regard, the lousy weather has been a bit of a godsend, limiting the temptation to get on a bike and get away from it all.

It might be a while before the next entry, too, but some of the visual highlights of the month so far, most of them from cycling, can be found here.

Early on in the month, concentration was on riding through the mountains, enjoying the warmer weather. Now, moving into the middle of the month, focus has shifted on work and moving to the new pouch.

Glad to be Alive

Kangaeroo is easy to be critical and cynical, less so to be thankful.

Today, he is taking a moment to be thankful for life.

Kangaeroo loves life, even though he has largely made a mess of his own until recent years.

Life interrupted this week, preventing any significant entry here, but not stopping time on the bike.

Rustic Relaxation

A weeklong festival of cycling drew to a close with series of unexpected bonuses: forecast rain failed to eventuate; an area usually only viewed while frenetically racing along on the jalopy turned out to be filled with delights; and Kangaeroo came to the realization that 100 kilometers is not an impossible distance to cover every day provided time and speed are not needed to be accounted for.

The day was spent with a group of mates, riding through the hills of outer suburban Tokyo, stopping frequently to eat, drink or soak in the scenery.

We each went our separate ways to return home and the idyllic day came to an end, Kangaeroo completing a journey exceeding 100 kilometers for the fifth day in succession, albeit all of them at a snail’s pace.

Reality beckons again tomorrow. Let’s burn that bridge when we get to it…