Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bikes in Japan

I had many opportunities to enjoy the bicycles in Japan.

One morning I wandered through the Nishiki market in Kyoto and got to draw this lovely old lugged porteur. There was a label on it somewhere that had 'Swallow Cycle' and the head badge is 'Art Flex' and 'Ary' with a bicycle wheel on it.

NISHIKI MARKET BIKE
I felt like I was in the way while drawing this one, the people running the stall were popping in and out around me, probably confused at why this crazy Westerner wanted to draw this old bike. She's a beaut. Like all bikes in Japan, this was locked only to itself, not to an immovable object. It boggles my mind, but that is how it's done.

Handsome Bill and I hired a wonderful guide, Kenzo Sato, and he took us for a cycle tour around Kyoto on our Mama Charlies. Since mostly grocery shopping ladies ride this style of city bike,  that's what the locals call this frame style with the baskets in front.

Photos by our wonderful guide, Kenzo Sato Photos by our wonderful guide, Kenzo Sato
Hello Imperial Palace!

Mama Charlie bicycles
More Mama Charlies.

Kenzo was a fantastic guide, I'm so so glad we hired him. He helped us get used to the subway, he took us to the Maid café, and to many beautiful temples. He also took me to a special Kimono fabric 'store', which is actually a house not a commercial store. It was a unique experience, I know that I would have never had found this place on my own.

Japanese Whip, AKA the Mama Charlie
Had to take a fashion shot of my Japanese whip, yo.
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