Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More on pollution

In the post below I talk about litter, etc. What I didn't mention there was NOISE pollution. Now, in the UK this is taken very seriously, especially in residential areas. I'm sure it is in many countries around the world.

In Tokyo, land of the apparently paper thin walls (although many of the people I know, myself included, actually have pretty thick walls) great consideration is given to not making too much noise. Or so I've read a few times.

Now, I can generally put up with a too loud TV or hearing someone else's music; hey, I'm sure MY TV can be heard by my neighbours from time to time BUT let's not talk about personal noise here but public noise. From what I can gather there seems to be no rules on this. I could, of course be wrong.

Evidence number 1: I live across the road from a large university. The upside of this is many many ridiculous fashions to laugh at, the downsides are the students. But I'm going off point here, so I'll come back to them later. Last Thursday was a National holiday called 'Culture Day'. The significance of this I am still ignorant of as none of my students could provide me with an explanation. It did seem, though, that most schools and universities in Tokyo had events of some sort going on. For local university this started very early on Thursday morning. Well, I got into bed at around 6.30am after my all-nighter, so it must have started a few hours later and I woke up to such loud music blaring out that I wondered for a hazed second whether I'd fallen asleep in a club or something. This continued throughout the day, as far as I know, although I was out BBQ'ing and getting lost so I'm not really sure. Friday was the same story.

Now my window is maybe 2 or 300 metres from the edge of the campus and the whole area is residential. There seemed to be no limits in place to the volume they could blare out at.

Evidence number 2: political vans and loud speakers. What can I say? Vans with politicians drive around, often early on a Sunday, and the politicians shout loudly throught the loud speakers. For a long time.

People selling poles and various other things also use vans and loudspeakers. A couple of months back there was one outside my station that I could hear loudly when I was still five minutes away. By the time I got there it was deafening. Seriously, it hurt my ears it was so loud.

Evidence numer 3: sales people, with or without loud speakers, who shout out (often in the most annoying squeaky voices) trying to lure you into their shops. This is particularly bad when you have a whole strip of them all competing vocally with each other. As if shopping with hoards of people isn't stressful enough.

I like my world peaceful.


My swollen glands have gone down considerably although my throat is still sore. I've a nasty cough and my chest has started burning and I have a horrible feeling this may be bronchitis again. I am, however, extremely, averse to going to the doctor to get antibiotics as they've screwed up my system so many times already. Of course, if it developed into anything more serious that wouldn't be fun either, but I'll see....


The students: the biggest problem with the students here is they are, in general, worse than everyone else put together (well, maybe) when it comes to not being able to walk / cycle in a straight line and / or look where they are going. Often the reason is because they are multi-tasking and I do appreciate it can be difficult to cycle and smoke a cigarette and hold an umbrella and talk into your mobile and have your buddy on the back of your bike at the same time. BUT THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM NOT MINE. OKAY?

And if you see a bike coming towards you and you and your mates and their bikes are taking up the entire width of the VERY wide path - doesn't logic suggest that approaching cyclist has to get past you somehow?

You'd have thought so, wouldn't you?

So, why don't I cycle on the roads? Are you serious? Cycling on the roads here is frightening. For one thing, cars aren't used to it. For another, cyclists aren't used to it which means they randomly choose which side of the road they wish to cycle on which IS a problem when they are coming at you and traffic is alongside.

On Thursday when I did my 75 minute tour of the area (when I got lost the evening of the BBQ) what I didn't mention was the actual cycling. I am amazed I didn't get killed to be honest. For much of the cycle, there was no pavement so I had to use the road. Many of the roads weren't so wide so, with two-way traffic, there wasn't a great deal of space to cycle anyway. Several times cyclists came towards me on the wrong side causing me to swerve (yes, often they were texting away on their phones) and a couple of times this was into the path of oncoming traffic. I swore loudly and a lot that night. I think I was extremely lucky to have got home in one piece.

But consideration in general doesn't seem very high here often. Take trains, elevators, escalators, getting in / on / off / out of anywhere and you'll see what I mean. Oh well. I'm going to make some hot soup, study and feel sorry for myself now.


Anonymous stu said...

cycling's a funny old game here and yes loudspeakers can be hellish at times but I think it's healthy to remember just how good life in japan can be. 3 years ago my wife carved a pumpkin and put it on the entrance stairs to our block of flats in the UK with a candle in it. a few hours later the local kids had smashed it up. and that's why I don't mind living in Japan.

I've now come to view cycling on the pavement as one of the many arts of compact living - you'll notice people rarely get flustered and just navigate around each other.....

....get well soon.

12:19 am

Blogger Jo said...

... or just crash into each other you mean.

it used to amaze me how things weren't stolen or destroyed. around where i live chairs where put by all the bus stops. nobody ever stole or vandalised them.

i've been into public loos that have been decorated with all sorts of things... in the UK they'd have been swiped.

there IS a lot of trust and safety here.

i think i miss being amazed by everything though.

and thanks for the wishes!

1:55 am


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