Monday, September 20, 2010

Bike Theft!

Hide your kids, hide your BIKES... there's a bike thief in Marugame!!


Sadness.

A few days ago I got off the train after work and walked to the bike parking area to pick up my bike, and it was gone! My beloved, buttercream bike. I had locked it and parked it in my usual spot, but it got stolen. Bike theft is probably the most common crime in Japan, a place that is otherwise so safe. You can leave your handbag or any personal belongings on a table in a crowded place, and no one will ever touch it. But bikes... they get stolen! Apparently, getting your bike stolen in a rite of passage in Japan.

My bike was registered so I went to the police station to file a report. This would have been a quick and simple process back home, but in Japan, and with my limited Japanese, it took over an hour. The policeman was very kind and patient, while I explained where and when my bike got stolen, even drawing pictures of the area and showing him pictures of my bike. It was cute and comical for the most part, until he insisted that I write my address in Kanji characters.

KANJI characters!!! Apparently it's a strict rule for police reports, and the policeman was not allowed to help me out. I can read about one hundred Kanji, but I don't know how to actually write them, with the proper stroke order and all. It's very complicated, and the characters from my address were very intricate. This is what PART of it looks like in Kanji, and that's half of it:

香川県丸亀市西本町

It took me over twenty minutes and I did a pretty bad job, even though the policeman kept congratulating me on my skills (probably just to be polite). I just wanted to burst into tears, which I did a little when the policeman was on the phone. It was such a frustrating moment, with the language barrier, and feeling so helpless, incompetent and illiterate. I need to practice my strokes more seriously from now on.

I miss my bike. Thankfully my friend Daniel let me borrow Isabel's old bike for as long as I need, so I'm now happily riding the blue bike (aptly named Betsy Blue). I hope the police finds my bike, but I don't think it will happen. It makes me so sad! Maybe it's a sign I should move out of Marugame?!


{Better days. Blair Buttercream, where are you?!}

6 comments:

French lover said...

Oh non !!! I'm so sorry ! I thought Japanese DID NOT STEAL... surtout pas un vélo ! c'est sacré, et teeeeellement personnel !!

mina said...

Aw, I felt so sad reading this. I am so surprised that anything gets stolen in Japan. Do people even lock up their bikes there? That sucks, I hope you get reunited with your bike soon. (Is there a craigslist there that you can check to see if someone is trying to re-sell it?)

:( I hope they do a better job finding your bike than they did finding that "idiot from the projects".

Canadian Pie said...

That's awful. I remember getting my front wheel stolen and I was pretty sad about it...

Hope the police finds your bike.

Nicole Marie said...

ohhhh saddd!!!! i hope they find it!!!

thevoyageofv said...

Nooooo! Bike thieves are the biggest scoundrels of all! A couple of years ago I had my apartment broken into and my bike stolen within two weeks of each other. Hate those people...

A Girl in Asia said...

Oh no! So sorry to hear that!