One warm summer day while we were in Japan, we decided to rent bikes to explore the town of Nara we were staying in. All Japanese ride bikes, and they are all very skilled at weaving in and out of traffic and avoiding pedestrians. We, unfortunately, were not as skilled at these things. We meandered through the streets weaving back and forth across the roads. After a few close calls with some vehicles, we decided to head up into the hills of the town where there were less vehicles and more open spaces.
It was a beautiful ride through serene forests and past grassy fields. We explored ancient temples and stopped at some quaint shops along the way. Once we reached the top, we found it necessary to begin our descent. We quickly discovered that our rented bikes must not have been oiled for a very, very long time. The peaceful quiet of the forest was soon shattered by a horrendous screeching sound from our four bike’s brakes. I’m sure we must have cleared the forest of any bird or creature within a mile of us.
Suddenly, without warning, the forest opened up in front of us to reveal a huge temple courtyard full of people. All their heads swiveled around to gape at us as we barreled our way down towards them screeching in perfectly harmony. Japanese are naturally very respectful and quiet beings, so our noisy appearance at a sacred temple must have seemed absolutely horrendous. It was tremendously embarrassing for us as well, but once we stopped screeching and brought our bikes back under control, we burst out laughing hysterically. To this day we can’t help laughing when we tell others this story.