Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 1945 and the Yokohama Peace Monument

If you weren`t looking for it you would never know it was there. 

At the very far end of a park that relatively few people use, and most don`t even know the name of, there is an unknown monument.  Within this obscure and rather simple looking structure are inscribed the names of some 14,000 people who died as a result of the firebombing of Yokohama on this same date 66 years ago.

The location of the monument in Naka Ward`s Odori Park, is probably not a great distance from where the first firebombs struck the city on the morning of May 29, 1945. 

Strange as it may seem, as far as I know, this is the only monument, memorial or marker in Yokohama in remembrance of those who perished that awful day.  It was built in 1995 and financed by "The  Yokohama Association of Bereaved Families of War".

Inscribed into the stone of the large white tablet in front of the monument is a message which explains "The history of the Peace Monument".  The last part of the first paragraph reads - "These were days that under the information and news control of the government, military and bureaucracy, the ordinary citizen unaware of the real situation of the war, were forced into a blind obedience. As the frontline moved on Japanese soil and American bombings rose in intensity both military and civilian establishments in over 100 cities were indiscriminately attacked. A great many unarmed ordinary citizens became victims."

This monument forces one to reflect on the insanity of war and for this reason it and the events of 66 years ago should never be forgotten.

above -Yokohama 1945 at the site of Enmei-en Temple

below - same location today

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yuba Mundo update

Update - the insurance company is only willing to pay the difference between the cost of the bike and what they have already paid. :(   Bitched and moaned as much as I could for a week but to no avail.  Also, my wife has to act as interpreter and go between, and she is sick of it. 

Anyway, this means I could pay about $500 of my own money for a new bike and then try to sell the other to make my money back, however, I am not certain I would be able to (with the broken fork) - so, after all that, I have decided to try to get the broken fork replaced.
There is only one Yuba dealer in Japan, and they don`t have any forks in stock, so I told the shop to go ahead and install the Surly Big Dummy fork.  Since the BD fork is threadless, they will need to install a threadless headset and stem and possibly new handlebars. 

One thing I am worried about - the Surly fork is about a centimeter longer than the Yuba`s, so there will be a slight change to the geometry -  but I see it`s been done before on a Yuba V2.

Will have it back in a week. 

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bent Fork

or The Bike that Doesn`t Ride Straight

About a month ago, I was hit by a car while riding the Yuba Mundo.  The car pulled out of a side-street suddenly and hit the right front of the bike at a 90 degree angle. To make a long story short, I wasn`t hurt, but the bike`s wheels were both bent and obviously totalled.  The police came, the driver apologized profusely and told me her insurance company would pay for any damage. 

I carried the heavy beast about a kilometer to a shop I had done business with in the past, and the following day the shop assured me that there was no frame damage and the bike required only two new wheels and a set of cranks.

Well, I picked up the bike today and was very impressed with the nice new Salsa Gordo rims and Shimano cranks, but after a couple minutes of riding it became apparent that something was very wrong. The bike which used to be very stable (I used to be able to ride this bike with no hands!), now wanted to pull off sharply to the left if I didn`t hold on firmly with both hands.

When I got home, I stood looking straight down at the fork and I could see that it was bent - only 2 -3mm perhaps, but definitely enough to effect the ride. What`s more, I noticed it is even worse with weight on the back, essentially making this cargo bike useless. Now, I have to bring it back to the shop and hopefully won`t have to fight the driver`s insurance company. What a PITA!