The Great Bike Box Hunt

6&7/7/16. With only 5 km between the two hotels we enjoyed a lie in – but not too late as check out was 10 o’clock. Unable to check in at the second hotel until 3 o’clock (Japanese hotels adhere to these timetables far more rigidly than in the West!) we had a few hours to “kill” which we spent wandering around a nice little garden and park in Kawasaki and then, having crossed the river, a couple of shrines and the shops in Haneda.

Thursday’s task was the vital one of obtaining two bike boxes for the flight to Germany. We were a little apprehensive about how long this would take which was why we had booked into the hotel in Haneda (very adjacent to the airport) for 6 nights.

With the sun blazing down and the temperature soaring towards 35°C we set off armed with photos of what we were looking for ready on the iPad.

We started at a bike shop we had passed the day before. The guys there spoke only a little English but the photos got our message across (we think). They shook their heads to indicate no boxes and pointed us in the direction of another shop, printing a map from the web to direct us.

Here the chap spoke more English and explained that the bikes he sold didn’t come in boxes. This didn’t sound promising! He sent us to a third shop.

This also produced a negative response and directions back to Shop Number One! Feeling increasingly downbeat we headed towards a fourth shop which we found on the internet.

And hallelujah! There was a bike box (obviously not yet empty) in the doorway! At least they do exist in Japan! There were a further two boxes (also unopened) inside the shop. The man in the shop very kindly unpacked two of the boxes and gave them to us. Sorted!!

We now faced the prospect of lugging these two boxes 3 km back to the hotel in oppressive heat. They are not heavy – just awkward to carry. At least it was not windy, because they can act a bit like a sail. First though we stopped at a convenience store to buy our benefactor a little gift to say thank you.

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