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One of the odder problems you run into living in Japan is how to throw large things away. Say you’ve just bought a new bicycle, for example. In many countries you could find a charity to donate it to, or perhaps a relative or friend of a friend who’s just starting college or a career.

Japan’s predominantly middle-class society and general dislike of used durable goods means you’re unlikely to find someone willing to take your old bike off your hands, though. Trash collectors won’t haul off something that big unless you shell out an additional fee, either. In some cases, people will simply abandon their bike somewhere, such as a back alley or deserted parking lot.

Or, apparently, in a lake in one of Tokyo’s most beloved parks.

Located in the fashionable Tokyo suburn of Kichijoji, Inokashira Park has been an oasis in Japan’s biggest city for close to 100 years. A shrine, small zoo, and even restaurants can be found inside the park, which is also one of the capital’s prime cherry blossom viewing spots. The main attraction, though, is Inokashira Pond, which visitors flock to despite the persistent rumor that any couple going for a ride in one of the rental row or paddle boats is doomed to break up.

▼ Inokashira Park’s Benzaiten shrine

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However, Kichijojij is also a popular entertainment district, which in Japan means lots of drinking. Inokashira Park sees no small number of inebriated youths and students, who, while not necessarily dangerous, don’t always display the best judgment.

▼ For example, on my very first visit to the park in college, a fellow reveler threw me into one of its picturesque sakura trees.

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Starting on January 18, the Parks Department began draining Inokashira Pond as part of an effort to remove harmful non-native fish, such as bluegill, that have been introduced to the body of water. After three days of drainage, the waterline had receded enough that the technicians in charge of the project began to notice something unexpected: dozens of discarded bicycles protruding from the lowered lake.

▼ The day’s haul

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In just a single day, more than 50 twisted, rusted, abandoned bicycles were pulled from the pond, with some saying that a scooter and even a mid-sized motorcycle were recovered as well. Administrators estimated that the lake could still be concealing around 150 more bicycles which will need to be removed during the seven remaining days of drainage.

Officials said they never imagined to find such a concentration of illegal dumping, adding that five bicycles were found in each of the three most used spots. The development seems to have caught the Parks Department off guard, with one spokesperson lamenting that the project’s budget was not drawn up with such extensive garbage disposal costs in mind.

Japanese Internet users had the following to say:

I never knew it was *that* dirty.

Is there a black hole at the bottom of the lake or something?

I’m betting a lot of those bikes were stolen by punks as a prank, then tossed in the water.

They should just ban the cherry blossom parties, or at least start charging people admission when they’re in bloom.

Shouldn’t they have cameras set up in the park to prevent this kind of thing?

The real question is, did they find the riders’ bodies?

Here’s hoping the drainage project doesn’t turn up anything more disgusting than this, and that visitors take better care of the pond after its restoration.

Source: Imoto ha Vipper
Top image: Livedoor
Insert images: Wikipedia, FC2, Seesaa