Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meditation - Lost in Tokyo

Lost in Tokyo: This has been a non-stop conversation (one-sided, DB doesn’t really keep up her half, quarter, eighth), about how nobody can find where they are going unless:

a) they’ve been there before, at least 3 times (sometimes that fails too, we’ve seen it)

b) they ask and ask and ask how to find the place (someone three doors down is likely to not have heard of the place you are looking for, every likely, we’ve seen it)

c) maps are very often provided (they are every few blocks on the streets – you are HERE), are drawn ever finer until finally the individual buildings on the block are identified by name or size or shape or color or flags flying or how far they are from another building or alley, or some aura that may be flowing from the basement (yes, we’ve seen and felt it)

d) they get on their cell phones and repeat steps b and c, or the house phone (yessssssss, we’ve seen and heard it)

e) Five or six other ways we don’t realize they are using (not sure how often we’ve seen this, it must be true)

So, is this just being a lousy tourist, a boorish foreigner complaining? Oh, you mean those maps they have posted every few blocks –EVERY FEW BLOCKS - are for foreigners? Only if you believe a foreigner is anyone not born in your immediate vicinity. Those maps are for the locals! All the signs all over the subway stations giving each exit a number and finding out people need the numbers (as opposed to, say, a street name or intersection). Not for us dogs! For these dogs!

Here is the equivalent: You take the bus (or imagine a subway ride) to MacArthur and Grand. You get out under the freeway near the Golds Gym. Your first landmark is the Grand Lake Theater, yet you can’t see it because the freeway is in your way. You have to ask twice to find it, or look at a map posted that only shows the immediate 3 blocks. You get to the theater, and there is another map. That one shows Lakeshore with businesses marked, except rather than store names it has building names. You make it the two short blocks and you’re in front of Arizmendi (the post office is a good bulding, easy to recognize). Then you carefully look for the first street coming off Lakeshore, and you find Trestle Glen. You breathe a huge sigh of relief, it only goes one way. You start walking, trying to find Grosvenor and Trestle Glen by counting the streets that come off Trestle Glen (streets don’t have names, except the big ones, so knowing Grosvenor doesn’t help). You come to the first fork and get confused and consult the map posted there. It does NOT go as far as Grosvenor, it only shows the few blocks around where you are standing. Hmmmm…you take the fork in the road, as Yogi told you to, and either way end up at Trestle Glen and Sunnyhills, And Grosvenor (remember, unmarked and unnamed) is still not on the local map. Maybe some kind soul comes up and helps you (or sometimes points you in the wrong direction, it happened to us more than once) when you get to the next fork, Trestle Glen and Holman. When you finally get to Grosvenor and Trestle Glen, you see another local map posted, and if you can orient yourself (remember, no street names), you start counting the houses off from the corner. You aren’t sure, is this 1221? The house looks right (on you map, someone may have even drawn a picture of the house!). The map you have in your hand was faxed to you by someone who lives at 1221 Trestle Glen. This is not an exaggeration; this is what it takes to find a place that is around 3 kilometers from where you got off the subway or bus. Assuming you got off at the right stop. Welcome to Japan.

Let’s just say that when DB reads this she will be saying “give it a rest” (again) and I will continue to say if you want your entire population (and again I mean everyone, this is not just a Tokyo problem though it is worse here than anywhere else) spending an inordinate amount of their time bothering the friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc., about how to find an address (actually, you can’t call it an address, they don’t have real addresses, though maybe the JPO might disagree, though I doubt even that), then Japan has the system for you.

Could this be fixed? Well, just maybe they could possibly visit ANY OTHER COUNTRY in the world and come up with a better system.
Or, as DB says, it’s all about fostering a sense of community. As THB says, God must have wanted cell phones and fax machines (which don’t exist now in most places) invented because it sure makes it easier to find someone and where they are right now if you have one. Or not, which is more often the case. Now we know where the Turn and Wave came from, either letting you know you finally found the place (greeting) or may the force be with you in finding your next stop (there but for the grace of some God go I).

Twenty times what DB would write or want to talk about.

No comments:

Post a Comment