04 May 2011

Designer Bikes: Azusa in Tokyo (post earthquake)

Azusa and her Miyata
My friend and former studio mate Azusa Hirota recently got herself a new set of wheels to get around Tokyo! Since the recent earthquake and aftershocks in Japan - in a metropolis that moves 9 million people through their public transit system daily - Tokyo has seen a huge spike in ridership...

So many people couldn't go home that day because all trains stopped and buses were stuck in traffic jams. Even after the big earthquake, we are having smaller earthquakes everyday and some of those quakes are still big enough to stop trains... many people are fed up with being stuck in train stations or offices every time big ones occur. 

When Azusa recently bought her bike, the shop owner said that sales quadrupled since the incident! In this recent New York Times article about Tokyo's bicycle boom, they reported that some bikes stores completely liquified their inventory on March 11th since so many people were desperate to get home.

On another note - if you're thinking this key chain resembles a potato chip, you guessed right.


  1. I would much rather vote for her than the people on the board behind her. I want that potato chip key chain!

  2. we just got back from tokyo and were amazed at the cycling infrastructure in place! the city is so sprawled that a lot of people use their bikes to get to and from the subway/commuter rail stations. seems like a great place to bike in the springtime, though i'm not sure about the summer and winter weather. maybe this is a new thing since the earthquake, but the level of middle class commuter cyclists seemed akin to nice spring/summer days in boston and the surrounding 'burbs. fancy salarymen (and women) in full suits were commuting on cruiser bikes! many were decked out with one or two child seats similar to those in Amsterdam. i was surprised by it as i'd never associated tokyo with cycling. unfortunately, we didn't get any good photos for you.


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