Traffic Cones in Japan

Traffic Cones in Japan

You have to love Starbucks.  No matter what store I walk in there is a line to order a drink.  I don't think I have ever been in an empty Starbucks... Today's Configuration:  Leica M6-J with various lenses and Kodak Portra 160 film

Starbucks in Ueno Park
Starbucks in Ueno Park

The wide 80...

Japanese Scale
Japanese Scale

Now we haven't spoken about traffic cones in Japan in a while so it is time to review a new case study and interview I recently held.

A new cone use case:  coning off the cones...It is very important as people can easily trip on your pile of cones but putting more traffic cones in front of them will ensure this likely will not happen.

Cones in Jiyugaoka
Cones in Jiyugaoka

I had a huge breakthrough a few weeks ago in my continued research as the world's foremost authority on the excessive use of traffic cones in Japan...

I was hosting one of my photowalks in Yanaka and I bumped into Akihito Suzuki.   At first I figured he was just yet another highly decorated security guard in Tokyo however after further investigation I realized he was part of a sophisticated network of cone distribution agents.  It was fairly easy to tell as he was carrying a few cones.   After speaking to him I realized was appeared to be a needly excess of security guards in Japan is actually much more.  Like many things in Japan there is a lot that is understood but not said laying just below the surface.

Suzuki-san was kind enough to stop for an interview with ShootTokyo:

ShootTokyo:  Suzuki-san thank you for your time.

Suzuki: I don't really have anything else to do as I mostly stand around or get in people's way.

ShootTokyo:  Why are you carrying traffic cones?

Suzuki: One of my major responsibilities is to look for places without traffic cones and put them there.

ShootTokyo:  What do you hope to achieve with this coning?

Suzuki:  We hope to educate and enlighten that nothing is currently existing in this spot as noted by the cone and consideration should be given if something belongs in that spot.

ShootTokyo: Are you protecting the citizens from some sort of hidden danger?

Suzuki: No

ShootTokyo:  You do realize that the traffic cones are rather annoying to most people who need to constantly go around them or sometimes even trip on them.

Suzuki: Yes, we have heard complaints.  We have done a survey, collected results and are currently analyzing them.   We hope that through education we can drive understanding of what we are trying to achieve with this conning.   We are also planning to deploy a cone safety awareness program that we are petitioning the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to require of all citizens before they can permitted to walk outside.

ShootTokyo:  But you do realize it is really annoying and adding no value...?

Suzuki:  Yes, we understand that some of our citizens hold that view.

ShootTokyo:  Why do you put them in parking spaces with no cars in them?

Suzuki: We want to speak to the driver and understand his intentions when he parks in the spot.

ShootTokyo: Can't you just assume his intention is to leave his car?

Suzuki: Yes but if it is a shaded area and he plans to be there past the time a shadow will no longer cast there he car may become warm.   If this happens he may hold us responsible for his bad experience when he returns to his overheated car.   Perhaps there is a more suitable place for his car that we can direct him to.  We are not comfortable leaving this decision in the hands of the parker.

ShootTokyo:  Can you just try for today...

Suzuki:  Hai!

ShootTokyo:  Thanks for your time

Japan Cone Distribution Network
Japan Cone Distribution Network

ShootTokyo:  Pop Quiz - There is an empty spot there.  How many cones are you going to put in there...

Suzuki:  Futatsu!!

ShootTokyo:  Sigh, nevermind...

Japan Cone Distribution Network
Japan Cone Distribution Network

I saw this when I turned a corner to enter a shop.  It scared the hell out of me.  I think there is a point when Elmo grows beyond 6 feet that he moves from cute to creepy...

Elmo in Tokyo Japan
Elmo in Tokyo Japan

OK...another thing that has really been bothering me is bike parking.  Japan is a very obedient country.   If you are standing at a crosswalk at 3am with no car in sight people will still stand and wait for the light to change to cross but bike parking seems to not fall into an area you need to be obedient.

I have thought really hard and tried to understand exactly what is going on.  People seem almost down right defiant by parking their bikes right on top of the signs.   I think not all of these are actually in violation but rather I need to think about things from a different perspective and gain a more complete understanding of the polices in place.

Often it is important to expand your thinking to ensure you understand what is really going in Japan... After more investigation and understand it is clear to me now they have asked you not to park your bikes without baskets facing left.  This bike clearly has a large silver basket and is not considered in violation.

Bike Parking in Tokyo
Bike Parking in Tokyo

This person has parked their bike facing right and clearly is not in violation of the stated policy.    I feel much better now that I have a solid working understanding of the policy in place...

Bike Parking in Tokyo
Bike Parking in Tokyo

My local gardening store...

Gardening Shop in Jiyugaoka
Gardening Shop in Jiyugaoka

Thanks for stopping by today...

A short walk in Jiyugaoka

A short walk in Jiyugaoka

Why croquet is cool

Why croquet is cool

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