Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yet another "traffic post"

One thing that annoys me here in Japan every now and then is the total lack of respect for traffic rules. The most obvious is of course the lack of respect from cars regarding bikes or people walking. I like to cross at a zebra crossing without having to stop for cars. Cars are supposed to stop for people that are on the zebra crossing, but very rarely do, meaning that few people try to risk it. Cars also stop and park right in front of a crossing or even on it!!

Cyclists are unfortunately not much better. They bike on the pavement all the time, and get annoyed if people don't move out of the way. I absolutely refuse to move out of the way for a cyclist riding on the pavement.

As if this wasn't enough, walking people also disregard the traffic rules. In Japan there are not many cycle paths, but on those rare occasions there are, you can be sure that people are walking on them. And of course they get annoyed when you signal to them to get out of the way. I try to make a thing of heading straight for them and then brake just in front of them, and look down on the ground, shake my head and say to myself - "I wonder what that says". Of course it says bike path, or rather じてんしゃ.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Golden Week + Discounted High Way Fees = Traffic Jams

We are now in the middle of Golden Week, one of the major holidays in Japan. It is actually number one or number two, fighting with New Year's for the prime spot.

So what do Japanese people during Golden Week? Of course many things, but one thing that almost every Japanese citizen do is travelling. Usually to the place "where they came from", which is usually where their parents live or even where their parents used to live. This means that roads, trains and flights are rather full. Now, if you are flying this is not really that big of a problem since planes can't be more than full (no standing options as far as I know), but as for train, these are usually a little more than crowded meaning a good chance or risk depending upon how you see it of having to stand for as long as the train ride is. Still both the train and the flight usually takes you to your destination in time especially here in Japan. Going by road is a whole different story though.

Roads are crammed with lorries, buses, motorcycles and passenger cars. On top of this the Japanese government in an effort to kick-start the Japanese economy decided to lower the high way fees quite drastically to in principle 1,000 yen. It could have been ten times that before. Well, it is not difficult to understand that even more vehicles will be on the road during Golden Week, resulting in even bigger and longer traffic jams. Just ask me, a ride from Nagano to Tokyo yesterday took seven hours instead of 3h40min. Add to this that the delay led to us arriving at Ikebukuro station at around midnight. In this country of no-public-transportation-during-night it meant that we couldn't get home.

Now, we were/are lucky that a friend doesn't live too far from Ikebukuro station, and that we could stay with him, but having spent seven hours on a bus, having woken up at 05h30 to go hiking after having spent the previous night drinking a fair amount of alcohol together with two 60-year-old Japanese gentlemen, I think you, dear reader, understand that one does indeed want to go home and sleep in one's own bed/futon.

Other than that, Nagano was good. Lots of long walks and nice food.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's big news

Today's big news is the arrest of SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi. According to the early news releases he was getting really pished and ended up getting undressed in a park shouting and screaming. Neighbours called the police, who arrived at the scene finding Kusanagi naked. Upon telling him to put on some clothes, Kusanagi is reported to have said: "What's wrong with being naked" 裸でいたら何が悪い or 裸になって何が悪い depending on news source?

The media has this as its main news on the telly tonight. Even NHK opened up with the news, for a good 5 minutes, including a professor emeritus from Keio Uni Hospital, who explained brain black out due to alcohol, like it was part of a unique and decisive piece of evidence in a big murder case.

First, who cares? Second, hasn't everybody gotten a wee drunk sometime? Third, a wee bit of nakedness never killed anyone (apart from the Americans that is). Fourth, if I was ever asked a question in my field of expertise, I would surely refuse if it would be used in a piece on a drunk, naked boyband singer.

Bloody hell, what is the world coming to if a man or a woman for that matter can't get pished and end up naked?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I am unfortunately not much of an activist, but if this is true it is just disgusting. Interac is a company known for dispatching English teachers to junior high and high schools in Japan.

“Fired from Interac after death of infant daughter”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I promised myself that I would update this blog a little more often that I have in the past. This is not very difficult since last time I wrote was the first time in six months. Not that I have much to say.

I can say though, and this is totally random, that my Firefox add-on spell checker marks "blog" as misspelled!! This in addition to "Firefox"!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let's just say that it has been awhile, and even though I have been here all the time I just haven't gotten around to write anything. To be honest I don't know whether that will improve from now on. My dear readers, few as the may be, will just have to bear with me.

This will one of those micro blog posts that seem to be so in fashion, twitter or what ever it is called.