Well, I guess some things don’t really change even when you go half way around the world. It’s only been a little bit over a month in Japan and so far I have been pulled over by the cops twice for simply riding my skateboard to school. The crazy thing about it though, is in Japan you are legally allowed to ride a skateboard on the sidewalk and on the road, however with bicycles it’s illegal to ride them on the sidewalk and you have to ride your bike on the side of the road. The funny thing is, I see more than half of the bicyclists break that law and the police don’t say a thing. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been hit by bikes on the sidewalk. At least if you have an accident with a skateboard where you accidentally hit someone it’s just flesh hitting flesh with maybe the little wooden board bumping a leg, and the odds are you are going significantly slower than someone on a bike. Have the same situation where someone runs into you on a bike, they are likely going much faster and are going to charge at you with giant chunk of metal. I’m not here to point fingers at people on bikes, but it’s crazy how much some of the cops don’t take the time to stop and think “Oh wait, which one is REALLY more dangerous?”
With the police here it’s kind of weird, however on the other-hand I’m happy to report that a lot of the regular people here are fairly welcoming to skateboarders as long as you practice tricks at your local skatepark which kind of makes sense if your living in a city whose population dwarfs that of Canada. Other than the police though, cruising seems fine for the most part. Skateboarding isn’t as popular in Japan as it is in North America, but there is a good scene here, it’s just a little bit hidden away from the general public eye and only done in major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, etc. Thanks to the popularization of Penny Boards in Japan though, skateboarding’s popularity has gone on quite the uprise in the past 2 years with parks and skateboard classes increasing more and more.
Skateboarding in a different country is very interesting. Sometimes there are a few negative things, however I just try to keep in mind that it’s something fairly new here and there are still people not quite used to it here, but it’s getting better and I look forward to seeing how the scene in Japan will develop into the future.