Monday, March 8, 2010

Moving To Japan

Mrs. Otaku is leaving for Japan in about 10 days with Otaku Junior in tow so that the little one can start first grade there (the school year starts in April in Japan). We had always planned on having our son attend the first year or two of school in Japan to connect him with his Japanese heritage, Mrs. Otaku being a Japanese citizen. The idea was that perhaps I would continue to hold down the fort here in the U.S. and we would travel to and fro in accordance with school vacations, lulls in my work, and so forth.

Beyond that, since we have been married, we've always had a vague goal of someday living in Japan, as, despite her 12 years of U.S. residence, Mrs. Otaku is still just visiting.

Seems only fair, and is easy to agree with so long as it is way over the event horizon.

However, as we planned for this move, Mrs. Otaku fired up the job hunt in Japan over the past year. There were a lot of disappointments with this, including a trip to Tokyo for the finals between her and another candidate. She ended coming up short on that, as the other candidate could start sooner.

That was sort of dispiriting, but at the same time we realized we really didn't want to live in Tokyo. It is a giant beehive that is a bit lacking in character and we both prefer the Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto) of which Mrs. Otaku is a native.

Well, just about 2 weeks ago, practically out of the blue, Mrs. Otaku lands her dream job in Osaka. So we decided to make this relocation permanent, under the theory of "if not now under these circumstances, when would we"? Nobody is getting any younger here.

Me, I'll be here for at least 6 months wrapping things up personally and seeing through a startup with which I'm involved.

Lotsa things to think about, but the big one is deciding which bikes to take.

The current stable is:

1972 Fuji Finest, incomplete build
1972 Mondia Special
1980 Fuji America
1981 Fuji Gran Tourer
1983 Fuji S-12-S Mixte *
1983 Fuji Opus III
1984 Fuji Del Rey
1985 Trek 720 *
2000 Marin Eldridge Grade *

* denotes Mrs. Otaku bike

Probably the maximum I can get away with is 3 bikes, one for Mrs. Otaku and 2 for me. A couple of the bikes I can immediately strike from the list. The Marin is a MTB that my wife no longer rides. The Fuji Opus III, a stellar classic racing bike, really doesn't fit the profile of the the utility/slow touring riding I do these days.

The Del Rey is a fine bike, but it doesn't really have a "hook" for me, except for maybe the gold rims.

So for my wife, that leaves the Trek 720 or the Fuji S-12 Mixte. As the Trek is a grail sort of bike, I think that choice is easy. So this leaves for my candidate bikes:

1972 Fuji Finest, incomplete build
1972 Mondia Special
1980 Fuji America
1981 Fuji Gran Tourer

At most, I can take 2. As silly as it may seem, the Gran Tourer, the least desirable of the lot, is the one I've grown most fond of. Some of that is due to having spent the most time stroking the setup and riding it, but I also dearly love the stretched out stable ride, complete lack of TCO even with large clips, fenders, and fat tires.

But still, can I justify dumping any of the other ones in favor of the Gran Tourer, especially when I could probably set up the the Finest or Mondia to be similar to the Gran Tourer? I have to face facts here...

So that leaves:

1972 Fuji Finest, incomplete build
1972 Mondia Special
1980 Fuji America

The America is a bit different than the Mondia/Finest in having somewhat aggressive geometry and I use it now for my fast unloaded ride - I don't ride the Opus III much since it has tubulars. It is a joy and it fits me perfectly. So that has to stay.

And as much as I like Fujis, the Mondia is a supreme euro-classic - Reynolds 531 throughout, Campy dropouts, etc.

So it is looking like the verdict is going to be to keep the Mondia and the Fuji America. Here is a fairly old pic of the Mondia.

I still haven't really finished it, but install some fenders and a triple, and it will be a pretty styling all purpose bike.

The America needs no introduction, but for the record:

That being said, I'm sure going to hate to see this one go:

Nothing final yet, but I'm glad we've had this talk.


JPTwins said...

wow, congratulations! sounds like a great opportunity!

are you planning on selling the bikes or putting them in storage? I would suggest the latter, as you will probably be coming back to the US to visit family, and then can bring another favorite bike with you! :) but plain and simple, bring what you like to ride, not what you like to look at!

Another option is to pick up some of the nice japanese options there: Toei

if you are selling, i'd love a shot at the Fuji S-12-S Mixte!


T. E. B. H. said...

I'd keep the Gran Tourer if its your favorite out of the lot. No Fuji fanboy-ism, but simply, if its your favorite build of the stable, why get rid of it?