Cycling the Yamanote line back in October with Michael whetted our appetite for a similar bike ride. The only problem was coming up with a novel idea as the Yamanote line is the only one which circles the city but when I heard about one of my favourite bands ‘Ash’ releasing the A-Z series of singles on the internet I came up with the idea of the A-Z of stations. Instantly, the alphabet of 26 letters was reduced to 21 as the letters ‘L’, ‘Q’, ‘V’ and ‘X’ aren’t in the Japanese alphabet and there are no stations beginning with ‘P’ anywhere near Tokyo (there are only a few ‘P’ station names in all of Japan).
Of course cycling them in order (A, B, C….) would be near impossible in one day so the idea was just to tick off each letter as we went around. You may think that sounds simple and while there are many many stations beginning with ‘K’ or ‘S’ for example, there are barely any starting with the letter ‘B’ or ‘C’ which meant that our journey would take us to all corners of Tokyo.
Another problem was that Michael and I live far apart (he in Meguro and me in Kami Itabashi) so it was decided to cover a handful of stations near these areas. Stations ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ are in short supply and luckily these and a few more big name areas (with their own stations) are all in the vicinity of his residence. As for my neck of the woods, there are a few near me which I wanted included for personal reasons like being where I live, work or used to work. The fact that the only ‘C’ stations are near(ish) my house meant that I could justify the inclusion of cycling in this part of Tokyo.
Finally, the only rule that I made was that this ‘A-Z’ journey could not include any Yamanote line stations although if a station had a separate Metro station using the same name then its OK such as in the case of ‘E’ for Ebisu. With those considerations and a plan in place all that was left was to actually get a decent day of weather for the challenge to be realised before Michael left Japan today (April 23rd).