bathroom

Is this the best place and time to spread fear?

mosquito_dengue_warning_yoyogi_park

こんなところにも、不安にさせる看板は必要ですか。
My favorite line, on this sign outside the bathroom, is “Avoid showing skin.” I know there were incidents of dengue fever from mosquitos in Yoyogi park in late summer. But it’s been too cold for mosquitos since October, and how exactly will you use the restroom “without showing skin”?!

Fresh flowers in freeway service station

I spotted this very full bouquet in the service station along a highway. Japan’s rest stops are fantastic: huge bathrooms, great variety of food, plus regional food specialities you can purchase for last minute gifts on your way to or from a trip. This is the third of my rest stop flower series (the others were in city subway and train stations). I love the care that someone is taking in a space that others are just passing through.

More flowers in transit bathroom

These flowers were discovered in Odakyu’s Shinjuku station’s mens room. Like the two liter bottle with ivy in JR Metro, these flowers seem to be the spontaneous result of a caretaker eager to bring life into this drab interior space. My traveling companion wonders if the flowers aren’t recycled from bouquets that passengers have discarded at the station.

Transit precision

Tokyo Metro: Transit precision

A green city with lively pedestrian streets requires an excellent public transit system. I have already posted about some simple but effective station signage about the workings of the system and the neighborhoods surrounding the stations. Just recently, a foreign researcher pointed out an ubiquitous chart that I had overlooked and that can be found on every Tokyo Metro platform.

From left to right are the number of minutes to reach the next stations, the names of the next stations, whether the car doors open on the right or left side (in red), and details about which car to board if you are switching to other train lines, needing a bathroom, elevator, escalator, station office, station agent, or wheelchair assistance.

The efficiency and communication is astounding. The contrast with US transit is total. In Japan the transit system treats its riders with courtesy, respect and dignity. In the US, riding transit carries strong feelings of failure, disrespect and lack of care.