Bike Parking Vigilantes


When I first moved to my neighborhood, I marveled at how the commuter bikes near my train station were all lined up at a perfect 30 degree angle, with no late-for-the-train student’s randomly thrown-down bike  mucking up the symmetry and taking up more than one parking slot. I solemnly noted this indicator of Japanese national character, silently applauding a country where everybody agrees about the right way to park a bike.

That was before I saw The Parking Police. Every morning during commute hours, these two gentlemen don their reflective jackets and green Bike Handling Gloves and station themselves at the bleeding edge of the parking line-up, sternly making sure that commuters park their two-wheelers in line with all the others. Naturally, if a parking job is substandard, as soon as the commuter has dashed off for the train, they straighten the bike themselves.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more