One of the things that amazes me most as I experience life here in Japan is their use of bikes. Bikes here are used by everybody --- to the office goers, stay-at-home moms, kids, and of course those health buffs. Bikes also are registered in city halls - and I mean complete with certifications and all that paper proofs that it belongs to you.
From where I grew up, bikes are used only for recreation or for a morning or late night exercise, but here its like its equivalent to a car. I can see beautiful petite Japanese woman (oops! too much admiration..hehehe) wearing skirts, no wait, "mini"skirts to go to work; and sometimes guys in their coat and ties as well.
And what made me think that bikes REALLY are so much a part of Japanese' daily life. They have parking areas for bikes as well.
These parking areas are situated near train stations so people who uses the train to go to work leave their bikes there. And after work and train travel again back, they can just hop in to their bikes and head on home, since there is no tricycle that could take them to short distances like in ours ;p
orange bike is hubby's
Its gonna cost you though. When we left hubby's bike in the parking area and have been gone for 6 hours, it cost us 100 yen (50 pesos approx.). They have this vendo look-a-like machine (which i forgot to take a picture of) that computes how much you are supposed to pay by just keying in the parking lot number. And you can't cheat and just pull out your bike without paying the fee. It locks your bike until the machines says you've paid (cool hi-tech Japanese). Not bad eh? considering you have been super stressed from work and quite sleepy on the train ride - a bike ride can be quite invigorating.