From One Side to Another

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shibuya Cross Roads Tokyo

The Japanese are an extremely civilized society, this is a fact I am constantly reminded of everyday of my life here. So many of their daily routines revolve around this civilized attitude, they respect each other with such passion. The bowing may seem funny at times and slightly ridiculous to me but to them it is a way of showing gratitude, of portraying a feeling, an emotion, without breaking a peaceful silence. They refrain from talking on the phone on public transport – this is not a law but they respect it as one. I have yet to see anyone on the phone while on the train or bus. If it’s not a law then why do they bother? Is that what the rest of the world would say? It is amazing to me, this intense restraint and obedience, I find it exciting to discover.

While I was in Tokyo, I was flustered and got lost finding my way from the train station to the airport, when I came across this amazing sight. A famous tourist attraction in the city is the large cross roads known as Shibuya, I’ve seen pictures on the internet but have yet to see it. This was not Shibuya but a similar cross road, a little less busy.

I stood and watched for 30 minutes, it really was quite captivating. The lights are all red and nobody moves, the people and cars are still. A green man flashes and boom the people cross in a fast steady pace, the orange man flashes and the stragglers mid-cross panic to reach the other side. The man goes red, not a soul is left on the road, the people wait. The light goes green and the cars take their turn, the light goes orange and they begin to stop. Red light arrives and everyone is back in their box.

The most amazing thing is that I was there at about 10am which was nowhere near any rush hour, sometimes no cars were on the roads but the people wait they do not disobey. It is the same in Aomori you wait your turn, you obey the crossing. Cycling home at midnight you will see an empty road and a pedestrian waiting 2/3minutes for the green man to give them the blessing.

The Calm
Green Man
Green Man
Green Man
People wait, cars proceed

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