After spending yesterday studying I was pleased that it’s still beautiful outside today. I was worried that it would be wet and grey and that I would get stuck inside. Instead I got to go out and cycle along the river. My joints are aching and I feel tired but I still enjoyed it. I love that there are flowers blooming. The air smells sweet and it would pass for spring except for the changing colours of the leaves.
The ride wasn’t completely peaceful. Being foreign seems to attract strange people or maybe it’s the clothes I wear cycling… I don’t know what it is, I just wish it would stop happening. I don’t mind if people stare or if they are friendly and say “Hello”. I do mind if they get really close to me when I’ve stopped at the traffic lights, leer, and then start asking questions. I have no idea what the man was trying to say but he made me feel uncomfortable. I kept saying that I couldn’t understand and wished that the lights would hurry up and change so I could cycle away. He may have been saying something completely normal but I would have understood had he been trying to chat about the weather or ask me where I was from, which are the most likely things to be said to me by strangers when I’m out cycling.
This odd encounter made me wary of the other men moving towards me when I stopped to rest. One did get close enough to say “Hello” but I just said “Hello” back and cycled away before he could attempt to engage me in conversation. Don’t get me wrong. I like that this area is friendly and that people smile and say “Hello” when I’m out. It’s just sometimes people can be a bit creepy or invade my personal space. Today was one of those days when I noticed. I saw the group of young men who stopped to point and stare at me when I cycled past. I noticed the man who followed me around the supermarket when I was getting my groceries, probably because I turned and nearly walked into him at one point.
Tokyo is such a packed city that at times you can’t avoid being crushed together with other people. Today, when I was out along the river, I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the fact that there are only a handful of people around.