I had a rare Saturday off work last month so took the opportunity to embark on my latest cycling challenge. Unlike my past ‘Cycling the Yamanote Line’ and ‘Cycling the A-Z of Tokyo Stations’ adventures this one involved no stations.
I decided to follow in the footsteps of half American-half Japanese assassin John Rain who is the creation of author Barry Eisler. There are six books in the series (and even his latest non-Rain book, ‘Fault Line’, has a subtle reference to him) with four of them being set in part in Tokyo, particularly the first one ‘Rain Fall’.
I came across a list of Tokyo locations on Eisler’s website a couple of months ago and since then I have been keen to go round these coffee shops, restaurants, jazz bars and hotels which have been name-checked and referenced throughout the novels.
Thankfully it was a lovely Sunny day and I left my apartment in North Tokyo at around 11.15am following the main road all the way to Nihonbashi which is about 14km away. Unlike the stations tasks this was to be a lot harder as I was reliant on the postcodes which are far from easy to use. Unlike the UK there are no street names in Tokyo but rather areas and blocks within an area are numbered such as 1-29-21. The first number denotes an area of blocks known as chome which often need an ability to read the number in kanji (which I can thankfully do), the second number is the number of the individual block and the third one is the number of the house. Even Japanese people find it difficult to locate places as is shown by the number of them walking around with printed-out maps. I had never even thought about how to work out these addresses until a couple of weeks before this challenge and with so many places (about 20) to track down in one day a bicycle was very much needed given the huge number of times I would lose my way.
You can read ‘On The Trail Of John Rain Pt I’ here.