When you enter a new country you are bombarded with new “norms”, how people do things will always be different. Part of assimilating into the new culture is a decision process of running through your own values, views and systems and determining where you will change.
In Tokyo, almost no one wears a bike helmet. In a city where biking is a primary form of transportation and hundreds upon hundreds of bikes line the streets, it is odd for me to see so few people without a helmet (usually only Gaijin wear helmets). It reminds me of the 1970’s when people had seatbelts in their car but no one bothered wearing them. I remember my parents buckling the seat belt together and tucking it into the seat to stop that annoying “Seatbelt not on” alarm bell. Scary.
Last night we had to run to the store and I wanted to bike. It was the first time we had ridden at night. There are not many street lamps in our area so it was quite dark. As I moved from the road to the sidewalk, to avoid a car, my front tire caught the cement edge and in a flash I slammed into the ground – hard.
What is still a bit nerve wracking is that only 30 minutes earlier I had debated not wearing my helmet as it was close and “no one bothers”. But I did and I feel very fortunate. Had I not, who knows what would have happened. This is my helmet after the accident – cracked in 4 places.
A close call. That could have been my bare head. As a side note, the eggs did not break.