Since I have been living in Numazu, the bicycle that I have been borrowing from The Penpal has become an important way for me to get around town. As with any form of transportation, bicycles need occasional maintenance. In the past week I have been battling with one leaky tire, and in the past few days my other tire went flat. It was time to get some help.
I didn’t know where to begin, so I called The Penpal. She did some research for me, and found a small bike repair shop within about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. She also helped me practice the Japanese I would need to ask for bicycle repair.
I carefully walked my bike with its two flat tires to a small store named Adachi. If I didn’t know what I was looking for, I could have easily passed right by. Adachi is run by a very friendly looking older man. I greeted him in Japanese and told him that both of my tires were flat, and asked if he could please fix them. He brought over a small wooden stool so I could sit, and then he went to work on my bicycle.
Watching him work was a treat. This was someone who had obviously spent many years working on bicycles and motorcycles. Every movement was careful and deliberate, with the expertise that only years of experience can bring. I was reminded of the scene in Toy Story 2 where the expert is called in to fix Woody.
It turns out that there was a problem with a seal and / or the valve core (my language ability didn’t allow me to fully understand). After carefully replacing a few parts and inflating my tires everything looked as good as new. Not knowing what to expect for the repairs I had taken out quite a bit of cash, just to be safe. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the repair cost was only 500 yen (about $5). I thanked the man as politely as I could, and rode away smiling. It’s great to be back on my wheels again!