Today I fell down a flight of steps- all the while holding onto the handle bars of my bicycle... Seriously! <still hysterically laughing> No, I'm not hurt- amazingly!!
I remember the first time I visited Japan, I was in awe of the many practical things in this country. Every time I came across something, I would think to myself, "Why haven't I seen this in the U.S.? This is such a good idea!" Well, the bike-ramp/staircase hybrid is one those practical things I marveled at. What is it? Well, it is both an easy-access bike ramp and staircase combined, created for both walkers and bike riders to cross busy intersections. Now, the sensible thing to do is get off of your bike when you reach the ramp, walk your bike up the ramp, and then WALK your bike back down the ramp. However, occasionally, there are a few skilled riders who actually walk their bike up the ramp and then RIDE their bike down the ramp. Whenever I saw the "brave" riders I thought- how stupid! However, it seems that over the past three months, I developed an adventurist spirit and decided to actually RIDE my bike down the ramp one day. The first time I was scared and had a death-grip on my handbrakes the entire time. But, slowly I developed a nice little method... So I thought.
So, for the past month, I have been slowly riding my bike down the ramp with my hands firmly on the brakes and both of my feet down on both sides for balance. (sigh) <laughing> Today... Something went wrong. And after successfully negotiating the first flight, I found myself tumbling down the 2nd flight of ramp/staircase hybrid- while still holding onto the handlebars. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! It all happened in slow motion and I am still not sure what really happened, but I think I may have forgotten that I could use my handbrakes and I just flew, well- FELL, down the steps! Let me tell you- I can only imgine what a sight it must have been! My school papers went flying everywhere, and the sound of my bicycle, my GOODNESS! one would have thought I seriously injured myself! I thought for sure that I would have to purchase another one!
[I am certain that I was the highlight-funny-event-of-the-day for about a half-dozen Sendai residents! I can just hear them telling the story, "Oh my goodness! Guess what I saw today! This foreigner, attempted to ride her bike down the footbridge and just FELL!!! BA HA HA Ha!!!]
Well, I can happily tell you that the only thing bruised in my adventurist ego, and my pinky fingernail, it was chipped. <still laughing> So, after momentum ended, my right knee was on one step, my left on the next step up, and both of my hands were still on the handle bars... How I managed to hold onto the handle bars is beyond me.
I remember when I was falling, there was a Japanese guy, maybe early 20s, going down the steps and when he heard me falling he looked back, and saw the entire thing! (How embarrassing!) After seeing that I was okay, he turned around and kept walking. Meanwhile, after I sat there in disbelief for about 30 seconds, I gathered my papers, picked up my bike and, guess what?- I got back on the ramp!!! Am I crazy?- I think I may be! All I could think was, "this ramp will not get the best of me, try it again girl! <hysterically laughing> I struggled a little, well, a lot, trying to put my bike back on the ramp and another young Japanese guy silently came behind me and lifted my rear tire back onto the ramp. I looked at him and managed to say doomo (thanks) and he nodded his head. I know he was probably thinking, "I know this crazy foreigner is NOT going to get back ON the ramp!
[ **THANKS RANDOM JAPANESE GUY! I know you wanted to laugh. Thanks for not doing it in my face.***]
Anyway, after successfully making my way down to the bottom, I parked my bike to survey the damage, dusted myself off, removed the leaves from my hair, and walked up the steps to make sure I picked up all of my things (all the while laughing- of course). I then called a fellow Fulbrighter and laughed about the experience for about 5 minutes! [Thanks for laughing with me Kristin!]
Thanks to all of you, family, friends, co-workers, Mrs. Parker who are always praying for me! I could have been "Broken-Up Sista in Sendai"!!
Below are pictures of the footbridge where I tumbled... (The 1st picture is going UP and the 2nd DOWN).
Japanese Word of the MONTH: "ABUNAI" (Dangerous)
SISTA IN SENDAI LESSON LEARNED: DO NOT RIDE YOUR BIKE DOWN THE WALKING RAMP!