In this video the Tokyo Bicycle Messenger Association gives some helpful tips. I cannot wait to go. Who’s gonna be there? London? West Coast? Oz? Be sure to watch this video and read below as Eli Tokyo Jitensha-Jin gives some tips:
TKBMA (The Tokyo Bike Messenger Association) is putting the final touches on their preparation for CMWC (Cycle Messenger World Championship) 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. For those of you planning to come, we hope you’ve already registered online and have gotten yourself some plane tickets.
A lot of good advice for your visit to Japan can be found at cmwc2009.com (click on the English button). This video includes some other useful info. Like how to use one of Tokyo’s many old style “squatter” toilets. Also:
*Nudity is illegal, so keep your clothes on.
*You can bring your bike on trains and subways, but only if it’s in a “rinko” bag (cloth bicycle transport bag) or a box.
*You can drink the tap water.
*You must ride on the left side of the road.
*You need to be careful of “mama-chari” (grandma/housewife bikes) which most people in Japan ride. Many mama-chari riders don’t pay attention or follow basic traffic rules and are a real danger to themselves and others.
*You can find cheap and fun ready-made ninja food at convenience store located everywhere (all open 24hrs).
*In September the weather will be quite warm and humid. But, bring some rain gear if you have some, because typhoons and sudden rain are fairly common.
*It’s legal to drink on the streets and just about anywhere in public, but please be responsible and don’t drink and ride.
I’d also like to include some of my own advice:
*Tokyo’s streets are insanely confusing. Unless you plan to always be riding around with a local, a good map is a must. I think the only bilingual map worth its weight is “Tokyo City Atlas” published by Kondansha International. You can buy it at Amazon.
*Legally, foreigners must have their passports on them at all times. Unless you live here, in which case you must have your foreign registration ID card with you at all times. It’s possible for foreigners to wind up spending a night or two in jail simply for not having their passport on them. But, the police are really really nice here for the most part and are good at giving directions if you need them.