A rainy day

Today was my last day in Atsugi. I wonder if I should feel melancholic but there's nothing to feel melancholic about. I've been back many times already, and have moved on and become a different person. Sufficient time has passed to make Atsugi just a pleasant stop along the way. But ultimately not my home. Or perhaps I was just annoyed by the rain and preoccupied with PADI.

I delayed my departure for as long as I could, mostly because it was raining quite heavily and it was expected to clear up later in the day, but also because I couldn't sleep last night and felt rather sleep-deprived. Eventually I had to bite the bullet though, and saddled up my bike for rain cycling. I managed without rainwear for about half of the trip. Since the rain was quite light my cycle shirt had a chance to wind-dry itself during the short periods of not-rain. It wasn't entirely without trouble, though. Somehow the handlebar tape on the left side has come off quite badly, the cadence sensor got wet and slippery from the rain and misplaced itself and the speed sensor thingie managed to get itself stuck in my rear wheel twice. To top it all off the many traffic lights along the way all seemed to turn red just before I arrived, and actually caused me to feel cold from the lack of activity.

Later in the day the rain actually got worse instead of better and I had to wear a raincoat, which implied slowing my speed down to prevent oversweating. Still, with the raincoat on it somehow became more manageable. I never went fast, but I was never in a hurry since Tokyo wasn't that far away.

The roads that I chose happened to follow the Odakyu line near-perfectly. I wanted to avoid the major roads (246 in particular) because I thought there'd be too much fast-moving traffic. The smaller roads were still quite large and full of traffic, but nothing too distressing. As I neared Tokyo I found a road that went straight up to my destination, diagonally crossing all the other major roads. To make things ever better, the road was often one-way and was specifically narrowed to prevent trucks and other large vehicles from entering, making it the perfect cycling road. As I approached Shinjuku I ended up on one of the major roads which I had been attempting to avoid, but it turned out to be brilliant as there were 3 lanes each way, and with the many cars parked in the left lane I had it pretty much to myself. Cycling: surprisingly practical.

After a quick visit to the government buildings I headed to my overpriced hotel. Upon arriving at the reception I found that the hotel had no bicycle parking, a car park which was a tower where they wouldn't let in bicycles and they wouldn't put my bicycle somewhere inside in the reception and/or luggage area either. Tokyo being Tokyo, there is absolutely zero space to park a bike outside the hotel (at least without it getting stolen by the police for illegal parking), so I had to cycle to the nearest train station which had a bicycle parking area. It's not that big a deal really; the parking area is quite close and only costs 100 yen per day, but what kind of pissed me off is how the hotel staff were complete dicks about it. In every single place I've stayed at during this trip, hotel staff were always extremely helpful and nice to me, especially when it came to giving my bicycle a good home. But these Tokyo-ites just flat-out refused to do anything. They're certainly not obligated to help me in any way, as they also made very clear by pointing out the exact rules and terms, but it certainly doesn't make me feel any better about staying here. I'm already overpaying for an average-at-best hotel purely for the location, the least they could do is act a little nicer. Anyway, I'll leave the complaints for the booking.com review.

PADI pool dive tomorrow! I'm still quite skeptical about PADI. The book does three things in about equal amount: try to get you to buy expensive diving equipment, try to get you to spend more money on additional PADI courses, and actually teaching you how to dive. It also comes with two DVDs that are quite useless. I tried to watch the first one in real-time but just couldn't stand the cheesiness and shitty slapstick humour. There's only a few bits that are useful, and those are the visual bits where they show you how to work your BCD/regulator/etc. The rest is just repetition of what the book teaches you, performed by extremely bad actors. All I want to do is dive! Leave all the other crap until later... or never.

Wow, I managed to rant about many things in this post, kind of unexpectedly. Anyway, all the bad things are merely preparation so I can experience more good things. It's all going according to plan.

Posted in Spirit of Japan 2

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