At our house there are several bikes which are great for us to get around on. We go bike riding almost every day.
On our very first day here we took the bikes and went riding around the village to get ourselves acquainted with the place. Dante felt his bike tires were a bit soft so we stopped at the small one pump gas station to put some air in them - we talked mostly with our hands to explain what we needed, and got to use the compressor.
Then we went and rode a big loop around the village.
On the way back to the village - right at the spot shown in the photo above - suddenly his back tire exploded with a huge loud bang. Lili and I were ahead of him and stopped dead in our tracks because it really sounded like a gunshot.
Now as fate would have it, exactly where you see the nice Japanese lady on the moped in the photo, there happened to be the village policeman on his moped. He also thought a gun went off and sprang into action swiftly turning his moped and came to investigate.
All became clear very quickly (Dante's back tire was in shreds after all) and I had to summon all my concentration to not laugh in the wrong place - I found it all completely hilarious.
We could easily have walked the bikes home - we were maybe thirty minutes away, but the good policeman took it upon himself to help us. (It should be noted that there are absolutely zero other Westeners here so we sort of stick out - and the Japanese are very keen to assist their guests). He rode into the village to look for a bike shop (there are none), and came back to tell us so. We started walking towards home and in about five minutes came to a car repair place. Logically we thought they might have some inner tubes as well and went to ask. The policeman reappeared and an animated international three way hand gesture discussion ensued.
Then a lady came out from the office and asked in Japanese where we were staying - I have no idea how I understood it but I did, and told them we were at Ujitei (not hard to guess as there are no other places to stay here). She took charge of the situation, called our house - and arranged for one of their staff member's bikes to be given to Dante so we could ride home!
Then Toshi-San went later with the truck to change the bikes and the tire got fixed and all is well now.
We have been telling this story to our friends here because it was such a perfect comedy moment, but also because of the unending kindness the Japanese are showing us.