Update, 5:30pm: I found Mk. at the dorms after work - she was working with a security video guy to review the records over the last few weeks because most of us foreign teachers have had our bicycle tires slashed or otherwise flattened over the last few weeks. I'd like to think that most of it was the fact that a cheap $100 utility bicycle from China isn't likely to have the world's greatest tires, but the fact that we've had such a spate of tire failures makes us a little suspicious. F. had a repair done, and then her tire was slashed less than a week later, and the whole thing had to be replaced (about $50 - not far from the cost of buying a new-to-you bike!). The people who live here know which bikes are ours. Not all of them like foreigners, and many may be envious of our so-called "freedom," as M. put it.
Anyway, that said, because she was there I was able to ask her about the nesting pigeon on my balcony. It just so happened a fellow who helped put up the nets was there, and even as we talked we saw pigeons hovering at the balconies, wondering why they couldn't touch down. He came up to my apartment and caught the bird, carrying it out the back door and releasing it into open skies. He cleaned up the whole nest, including the egg.
The birds are still fluttering around outside and making a racket, but they're, so far, all on the outside of the netting. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a nest or two that we missed, but that would be a simple matter of snatching the bird - it can't go far in the enclosed space of the balcony. I hope, though, that this is the end. If I never have to deal with one of these rotten flying rats again, it will be too soon.
OK! Off to pick up my bike! If my tires turn out to have been slashed too, I'm going to have to start parking my bike away from the dorms.
9:00pm: Slashed, no - punctured, yes. Perhaps I drove over something sharp and pointy. My tires feel as good as new, and the repair only cost ¥1300. Well, I can certainly live with that.
I parked my bike at our building, but I tucked it way way back as far as I could - which I had been doing, but then I stopped, and then I got the tire problem. (This is just an association; it's not demonstrable causation.) Making my bike the least accessible of the bunch is probably the best protection I have.
A lot of bikes fall over each other; I really like the baseball players here (they even helped Ch. bring up her suitcases), and it's hard to imagine any of them slashing a tire, but they can be kind of careless with their bikes. More often than not, a bunch of bikes lie sideways whenever I go to take mine for a ride. I'm sure some of the jagged edges of the old, rusty, possibly abandoned ones have claimed a tire or two over the course of S.G.'s storied history.
Ah... this is great; a weekday evening without a care in the world!
9/13: It soon became obvious that there was another bird trapped inside the netting. It's been flying around from balcony to balcony ever since the netting was installed. Q. and I just tried to make a grab for it, but it got away again. I hope someone catches it, but I feel like I'm the only one paying attention, and it'll probably end up just dying due to starvation and stress. Sigh.
9/14: Finally! Q. was able to get the bird to go into his apartment and fly out through his open door! Ah, finally, the pigeon odyssey has come to an end!