Come to where the party is. Come to Central Tsukuba. Having arrived in late march of this year and having found a pretty convenient apartment right in the center of Tsukuba, I now spend many sleepless nights musing about Japanese youth and their favorite leisure activities. Most of these nights make me remember a song I loved when I was about thirteen:
What a beautiful noise
Coming up from the street
Got a beautiful sound
It's got a beautiful beat...
It's the sound of the cars
On their furious flights
But there's even romance
In the way that they dance
To the beat of the lights...
Although I can enjoy the sound of cars on furious flights almost all and every night, they may not dance, but the beat of the lights is enormous! There's one more thing on my mind when I listen to this all but beautiful noise outside: Motorcycles were not included in those lyrics, for good reason!
The only conclusion I can draw is that this must be fun at its best: having a rather small motorcycle with an exaggerated exhaust, driving rather slowly with the engine on full tilt around and about the same houses almost every night, and all you are really aware of is that it's noisy! Alright, it makes no sense being noisy in the daytime. Too many background sounds, you won't be heard amongst all the busy people and more importantly, nobody minds because people are usually awake during the daytime (though these fellows seem to enjoy their roaring business in the daytime as well). But what a wonderful effect your noise has at nighttime! People have a choice to stay awake or be awakened, what's best? You can also rouse children from their sleep, make them cry, and you can make people stay awake and eagerly look out of their window to get a glimpse of the rolling gang. That's fame, that's how to make people remember one's tune (not the name, but the sound).
Since I have come from a country where the police eliminate vehicles like these immediately and then withdraw one's drivers license, I ask myself if being noisy on cycles might be the only leisure activity possible here for people too old to join after school activities such as sports or drama, or too young to take part in programs for the oldies, (I must admit that losing money at some Pachinko Parlor isn't a viable alternative, although our noisy guys may be the right age for that). I think it's like this: the possibilities for going out at night in Tsukuba are minimal for people of this age, and the police have a heart. It's cruel to rob youth of their last enjoyment. Therefore, no action is taken, and so they merely pretend to chase them with the sirens wailing. Thus pacifying the residents and exciting the cyclists with a challenging cat and mouse game.
During my musings I wonder how resistant and sturdy these motorcycles are? I wish that one day, oops! no, one night, they may all break down with engine failure. So we can all celebrate ... the night they drove old cycles down...
(Yasmine Fernandez - Kuensting)
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