Globe-trotting Japanese cyclist has bike stolen on China leg; netizens’ reaction
From Sina Weibo
A Japanese man who had cycled to multiple countries on his around-the-world tour prior to his arrival in China probably underestimated bike thieves in the Middle Kingdom, where nearly 1 percent of its 470 million two-wheelers are stolen, according to China Daily. In less than six hours, his 13,000-yuan high-end bicycle evaporated from a busy shopping street and then was found in a black market 10 kilometers away, priced at 1,000 yuan. The tragicomic story with the happy ending has attracted much attention from Chinese netizens too familiar with bicycle theft. Reactions run the gamut from sympathy, to gloat, from shame at the country’s rampant theft, to indifference, to anti-Japanese sentiment.
Original news video clip
ANCHORWOMAN: Now we are going to look at a Japanese man named Keiichiro Kawahara. His biggest wish is to tour around the world on his bicycle. He had already been to a dozen of countries on his bike. Three weeks ago, he came to Wuhan. However, what he never expected is, this bicycle, which had travelled all along with him, has been lost in Wuhan.
VOICEOVER: Keiichiro Kawahara told us that he arrived in Wuhan three weeks ago. On the afternoon of February 16, he and a friend he had just made in Wuhan went, attracted by its reputation, to Han Street, a characteristic pedestrian-only street where no bicycle is permitted.
MS. WANG (Kawahara’s friend): An old man wearing a red armband ordered us to park our bicycle here. Because his bicycle does not have a kick stand, we leaned the bike against a wall. He (the old man) said we must be back before 8 p.m., because he goes off work at 8.
VOICEOVER: Despite understanding that they needed to get back for the bike before 8 o’clock, Kawahara and his friend forgot about time when they were having fun, and did not return to the parking lot until 8:30 p.m.
MS. WANG: We browsed around for more than two hours and returned at about 8:30 p.m. Then we went over and, wow, the bike was gone.
VOICEOVER: Ms. Wang called the police immediately. The police found the parking fee collector who asked them to park the bike, but they still weren’t able to find the bike.
MS. WANG: He couldn’t recall the bicycle. First off, the bike wasn’t parked within the line. He doesn’t oversee any bike that is not parked within the line. Second, we returned after his working hours. So he would not be held answerable to it.
VOICEOVER: Kawahara told us, the bike, after retrofits, is worth about 13,000 yuan ($2,100), and has been to a dozen countries with him. It has gone missing even before he is any close to halfway through his entire trip. He truly hopes that the media can help him find his bike.
KAWAHARA: My bicycle is my darling, my girlfriend, my BFF. I want to get it back.
ANCHORWOMAN: Keiichiro Kawahara had been riding his bike for over a year and a half. In China, he had also been to a number of places like Shanghai and Jiangsu (province). Then why he lost his bike nowhere else but our Wuhan? As a citizen of Wuhan, I feel ashamed. I hope everyone can help him. If you find any lead or clue, please call us. Also hope this bike can be returned to its owner soon. Our Wuhan can never give people from elsewhere such an impression.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo
幽怨的铁锨：Lucky that you have already been to a dozen countries. Had you come to China first from Japan, it would have been the only country you had been to.
zinsserjustin：I am not surprised by it at all.
李九峰2419406897：Please, who, as a Chinese, has never lost a bike? Don’t raise your hand if you only lost one bike. Too many to count.
瓦老：Motherf**ker. The number of bikes Chinese people have lost is bigger than the population of Japan, but the police never took action as vigorous as this time.
FUNGSHUI：Wherever you go, should have learned about the situation in that country in advance. Dear friend, it is lucky that you were not in Nanjing…
岭上稻草人：I can only say that products from your Japan go like hot cakes. Had you changed it for one with Chinese characteristic, it wouldn’t have been lost. You are, after all, too naïve to think that the world has not thieves. Well, if you go to North Korea or Afghanistan, you may even lose your life. So stop whining~
小储钱罐：The speed at which they react this time is amazingly fast to Chinese people.
明辉哥哥：There will be pilferers, whichever country you are. Stop making such a fuss. We simply wonder why bad things are always blown out of proportion when it carries a tag that says “China”? Besides, the Wuhan police, Chinese people have lost tens of thousands of bikes, and I never saw you tracked down any of it. A Japanese man lost a bike, and then you “cracked the case overnight”. Who are you pleasing?
X文字：So funny. He doesn’t know the conditions in our country at all.
痞子宋坤：A real disgrace to our countrymen.
左手不相信右手：Other countries have thieves too. Stealing from him, a little Jap, is a right thing to do, and actually an honor for him.
纷纷纷纷纷纷：Just a bike, isn’t it? Simply buy one. Should tell that Japanese man that losing a bike is no biggie at all. Our China has human traffickers too!
不完整的璇葎：He mistook China for Japan. In Japan, it won’t be stolen even if it is unlocked. The Japanese have lost a bike. We’ve lost our face.
回车巷13号：Which place has no bike theft? Several days ago, was there a Chinese who also lost one in Paris? It was also an around-the-world trip. Why Southern Metropolis doesn’t do an interview? Keep harping on this. Stupid cunt.
Steven_盲刺客：Is losing a bike a big deal?Is so much hype really needed? So there is never a single case in which a Chinese lost a cellphone in a foreign country? And why I’ve never seen any foreign media made a great whoop and a holler about “Chinese touring around Europe lost a cellphone in Paris”?
HXX有开学焦虑症：Is this really necessary? Which country doesn’t have a pickpocket? Why label our country immediately? They amplify everything to the international scale. Disgusted.
BEnCh2012：It is not bad that he managed to survive.
假装在纽约：You thought thing as small as losing a bike are same as the imminent fall of the sky? You are quite lucky that you didn’t get yourself lost. You are treated quite nicely if you didn’t lose a kidney. Normally, you would be kidnapped to the mountains and enslaved for menial labor. What is more, you would be tricked into an underground brick kiln and would never escape for the rest of your life. An even higher level is brainwash your entire family and cajole you guys over to China. You are a low-level rookie. Why did you come all the way to an advanced-players-only place and play on hard mode instead of staying in your rookie zone?
他们都叫我小铭哥：That’s why the Heavenly Kingdom is never a birthplace for famous bicycle travellers. The moment they hit the road, their bikes are stolen.
Cindy洪：So pathetic, so shameful. The government here (The user is shown to be based in Australia) provides bicycles. Can be borrowed whenever you needed, as long as you park it in designated areas. And borrowing and returning is self-service with no one overseeing. If it were in China, could they be all stolen?
火锅不行：Just let it be. Not surprising at all. Got numb. The earlier you came to China, the earlier you would’ve lose them. I lost four bikes during my college years. And jeans. Anything could be missing.