Probably gonna restart this thread over soon.
So my buddy is a stupid gaijin and has only began speaking japanese a few years ago. His wife helped him out and the story is a bit different than earlier reported.
The elderly bike shop owner is ALIVE but has "flexible" hours.
(As an aside, we talked for awhile about Japan's aging population being a serious concern and although Kokobunji is a fairly popular city for young families there are hundreds of thousands of homes littered across the country that have simply been abandoned.)
So that's where I'm at. I've already spoke to him about renting a truck and going on a bike hunt through the japanese countryside (he thinks im nuts). So I guess all I need now is money, time, and more money.
I have absolutely no idea where this headed...