Monday, February 22, 2010

Tokyo Triathlon

There are three main events to the Tokyo Triathlon: Biking, Walking, and Train Ridesmanship. These are highly competitive and dangerous sports, and I recommend a rigorous training regime before competing.

Biking: An exercise of agility and clairvoyance, you will need to keep alert, and familiarize yourself with the rules and the other contestants.


The competition is less into actually competing and more into obstructing. The atypical bike rider is SLOW. However the word "slow" might not convey an accurate description. When driving a car in the US or other countries, environmentally conscious Lawyers can often be observed wobbling up hills. Slow is often the word used to describe these soldiers for Mother Nature. However, the slow meant for Lawyers and the slow meant for Japanese Triathlon biking obstructions cannot be used interchangeably. For example, the Lawyers are actually "trying" to move fast, the Triathlon competitors are just trying not to fall over.

Imagine the minimum speed required to keep a bicycle from falling over. Cut that in half, and you have the average bicycle speed in Japan, there are no hills, It is a scientific fact that most Triatholon contenders lack the specific muscle structure necessary to achieve speeds of over 5kph. If one needs to progress at a rate faster than the old man with a walker from Office Space, then it becomes necessary to weave in and out of the other competitors. To do this you have been given several tools on your bicycle.

Tool #1

The first is the bell. When riding behind an obstruction, a quick "ring" will get them to move most of the time. However using the bell often brings dirty looks and is discouraged.

Tool #2

The second tool is the word, "sumimasen". There are several ways to say "sumimasen". If it is an elderly lady and her husband, a simple, "sumimase-n-" (long e and n sounds) will do. Make sure to put a nice pleasant tone in your voice to make sure they know you are not upset in any way. Usually the lady will pull the oblivious husband to the side to let you pass.

If the first sumimasen should fail, resort to the bell. If this too should fail, you must be prepared for some quick peddle and break work to try and weave between, around, or through, just hopefully not on top of, them. This is most likely to garner dirty looks, so only use as a last resort.


You will often find yourself confronted by active obstructionists’, and it is important to read their minds when riding close to them. Sudden stops, reversals, or cutting across the road without warning are common tactics. Warning: if possible avoid! If not possible, make use of the hand break; if this should fail and you bump into the obstruction, there are certain phrases that can be used: “Mite Kudasai” (Chanto Mite Kudasai), and “Nani Shiteruno” (Nani A Teruno). However, this can often bring return insults, and if you do not speak Japanese it can be time consuming to extract yourself from the situation.


Stick to English. Swearing is especially useful and if you are loud and include well known words like, “ass-hole” and “fuck”, you will fulfill well known stereotypes of big-bad Gaijin. Confident in their deep cross-cultural knowledge on how dangerous foreigners can be, the obstruction will usually apologize profusely and move out of the way in order to avoid certain death.