Friday, February 8, 2008

A Tree (or is it a Flower?) Grows in Daikanyama

Bicyclists don't wear helmets here. Mothers don't even put protective head gear on small children they have stashed in a basket in the front or back. Sometimes there are two baskets and there's a kid in each one. I saw one lady cycling through the neighborhood, her toddler (who couldn't have been much older than 18 months) riding behind her, head slumped back and face up, arms hanging loose, completely asleep, head slightly rolling side to side as her mother steered around pedestrians (bikes are allowed on the sidewalk along busy streets, but they're expected to slow down in foot traffic). Oh, and car seats? Only in ex-pat cars, as far as I can tell. I've seen mothers in the front passenger seats, baby in lap. It's like 1969 when my mother took me home from the hospital, cradling me lovingly as she stepped into the front seat of the family sedan (there's a silent movie reel of this somewhere). I'm pretty sure that nowadays in the U.S. this would be considered reckless endangerment. 

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