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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been off the forum for a bit, I just returned home from a 3 week family vacation in Japan. Thought I would share some interesting motorcycle observations about the land of the Rising Sun.

First, I never saw a single Ninja 250 the whole time time I was there, which I found strange. I thought it would be very popular over there. I've since noticed the member map on this site shows no pins in Japan.

There are small bore motorcycles all over the place (and more scooters than you can shake a stick at, scooters are eveywhere and everybody rides them from young and fashionable to the old grandmas) Even the police have "small" MCs, favouring the Honda VFR 400, not really small, but compared to North American police bikes it is.

Safety for riders is... strange. For one, helmet standards seem low and I think other safety gear might be illegal, because I never saw anyone riding with gloves or jackets! Most riders wear a helmet that looks just like a batting helmet with no ear guards. This helmet has a small peak and about half the riders I saw wear it backwards, like a baseball hat turned around the other way. Also, a LOT of riders zip around with the chin strap undone and flapping around in the wind. Lane splitting is legal and 2 wheelers are constantly manuevering through clogged lanes and tight spaces to the front of the line at red lights. Traffic does flow smoothly, and despite the incredible congestion everywhere you go, the drivers are VERY courteous. I travelled by train mostly, but I did have a rental car for a week and spent a lot of time as a pedestrian (no motorcycling, sadly) and I never observed any of the aggressive-me-first driver attitudes I see at home. Which makes me think that may be the reason for seeing so little safety gear on the riders - I don't think they get hit by cars very often. The traffic flows, drivers and riders all seem to co-operate, and drivers watch for 2 wheelers.

Lastly - the roads. Hmmmmmm. Being that I live in the flatlands of South Western Ontario where the roads are laid in near perfectly straight grids, I was very jealous as we drove in and around the mountains around Nagano (site of the 98 Winter Olympics) and found the nicest twisty roads I've ever seen in my life. Everywhere we drove made me wish I had a bike. The only drawback - I think - is that the traffic congestion would probobly make it hard to really carve it up. Even in these mountain areas, the population is built up, so I think there would just always be a cage in front of you as you rode the twistys. I sure was willing to try though!

Few pics below:
The weapons and museum pictures are from "Ninja Village" (HAD to visit there) the police bike is the 400 VFR, and the castle is in Matsumoto (just a really cool building)









 

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That is one weird light on the back of the motorcycle. Yes, lets just put a pole jetting from the back of the police motorcycle, i'll be cool...lol. Your trip sounded fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The light on the pole on the motorcycle telescopes up to increase visibilty, the patrol cars do the same thing. Good idea actually as it really makes it easier to see, especially when things are so crowded.

 

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wow thats awesome :p and the light idea is crazy XD
 

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BlackBoar said:
First, I never saw a single Ninja 250 the whole time time I was there, which I found strange. I thought it would be very popular over there.
u are not suppost to see a ninja ;) nice pics by the way...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I saw a few bigger Ninjas, a couple of 500s and 600s, and a few Yamahas and one or two GSXers, but for the most part the motorcycles were small and older standard design bikes. Seems to me they put a far greater emphasis on utility use for their bikes and little or no recreational use. I'm not sure if the same models of bikes are sold there as for export. I did notice that very few of the cars and vans on the road there are models that are actully available in North America.
 

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That's interesting, you'd think that they would have sportbikes all over since they have so many scooters. I'm really surprised that you didn't see any 250's. After all they have been the #1 selling bike for so many years. Nice pics, glad you had a great time.
 

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Great stuff BlackBoar, keep it coming! And I don't think the Ninja is made in Japan, just designed by Kawi, which is in Japan. Don't they outsource to some place? I have no idea, so I'm just asking. And Red Dragon, that whole #1 thing kinda makes you wonder where the largest market is in the world, eh? I'd be willing to bet England, Australia, and the US are all competitors for top place, but I may be very wrong here as well....

BlackBoar, the way you describe the harmony between riders and cagers is something I long for here in the US.
 

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spooph said:
And Red Dragon, that whole #1 thing kinda makes you wonder where the largest market is in the world, eh? I'd be willing to bet England, Australia, and the US are all competitors for top place, but I may be very wrong here as well....

BlackBoar, the way you describe the harmony between riders and cagers is something I long for here in the US.
Snooph check out this article about our great bikes!! It mentions sales being number 1 in the good ole USA.
http://www.sportbikes.net/forums/ninja-250r/381085-ninja-205r-kawasakis-best-selling-bike.html
Yes harmony between cagers and riders would be a great thing. I had two issues on the way to work this morning.
 

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good article! and looking at some of the other comments they are all dicks on that forum haha
 
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