December 18, 2008

With winter upon us its time to share two unique ways I've found to keep warm on the streets of Tokyo.

Tip No. 1 - Get behind a bus.

Not only do they shelter you from the wind and have a nice drag effect but their engines are located in the rear, and those engines are toasty warm. While waiting at intersections bus drivers are required to stop the engine to reduce emissions, so you're not bathing in exhaust fumes, but be careful of the toxic plume that may engulf you once the light turns green.

Tip No. 2 - When its time to stop, stop beside a subway vent.

Red light ahead? No buses around? Subway vent on the sidewalk nearby? Don't creep through traffic to the intersection, huddle up to the subway vent instead, those baby's pump out warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. By the time the light turns green you'll be toasty warm, or at the very least thawed out enough to reach the next vent.

December 02, 2008

Authorities in Osaka Prefecture have finally put their foot down on cyclists who yap while they pedal. Tokyo Shimbun (Dec 1) reports that effective Monday, people in the prefecture caught using cell phones while riding a bicycle could be fined up to 50,000 yen.

In 2007, 18,500 bicycle accidents were reported in Osaka Prefecture and in many cases, the cause was found to be people steering with one hand or distracted while using a cell phone.

Over three-day periods in July and August, prefectural police in Osaka and Sakai cities observed that of 1,380 passing cyclists, 214, (15.5%), were listening to music players and 50 (3.6%) were using mobile phones.

In addition to banning talking on cell phones while cycling, Osaka’s new law applies to cyclists who use the phones to send messages or play games while in motion.

Laws prohibiting such activities are already in force in Akita, Hyogo and Tokushima Prefectures.

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