Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Sunday stroll through the neighborhood

On Sundays the wife goes off to play tennis and with her friend, The Firefighter's Wife, and probably afterward to badmouth both The Firefighter and me at some izakaya. This leaves me plenty of time to do other things. One which I enjoy is picking some nearby area in Tokyo/Yokohama and walking around aimlessly. Reminds me of one of my jobs.

Today I decided to avoid anything to do with train/subway travel and stayed close to home. Although I have lived in the area for about 3 years now, I still haven't seen it all.

I had barely walked 10 minutes when I met a very kind man in "downtown" Denenchofu. I knew that he was a kind man because he stopped for me as I waited at a crosswalk. At first I didn't trust him, having had much experience in crossing streets in the area, and thought he was tricking me and would suddenly accelerate and run me down as soon as I stepped off of the curb. However, since he was not driving a city bus, or a silver Mercedes, or a dark blue BMW coupe with Shinagawa tags, I decided to risk my life. Amazingly, he waited patiently while I crossed and did not enter the crosswalk until I was out of it. Hmmm. Must not have been from around here.

As I walked toward the Tama River via a route that I had not traveled before, I began to sense from the near monopoly of JCP campaign posters that I was in a heavily Communist-occupied area.
One might assume that such an area would force even more folk to obey the rules---this being Japan and all too---and I found this to be true. Folks here obey the rules as much as or more than everywhere else in Tokyo/Kanagawa.

I waddled in true Tokyo style on down to the river and observed a lovely Sunday afternoon scene that one could see only in Japan. Folks were relaxing and having fun while being concerned with others and naturally observing all the rules and laws as this sort of thing is in Japanese DNA.

I wouldn't know since Japanese is too Japanese to be understood by non-Japanese, but I think that sign reads: Please barbecue here. It could not say that barbecuing is prohibited.

I continued my walk, enjoying the unique and well maintained nature of the river side and soon passed under Maruko Bridge. I suddenly came upon a large number of parked cars in the area near the bridge where I noticed some men changing clothes. Had I not been in Japan I would have sworn a few of these fellows were about to do a Kusanagi except for small, somewhat strategically placed towels. Now I once heard from a Japanese gal who had never been to the US, but had visited Canada, that people could walk down the street nearly naked in the States, but I could not believe that the traditionally conservative and modest Japanese would be sitting around naked in an open, crowded, public area. I was tempted to hang around in the interest of research to see if any women would join the display, but had to move on. Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage to snap a few nudie pix, but since this sort of thing doesn't happen here, I could not have taken them anyway.

Resuming my stroll I went down a newly opened walkway, dodging mamachari and their morons. Fortunately, there are rules about riding these high-tech machines where I was walking.

The signs apparently say: Please feel free to ride your clunker like some sort of drunken idiot along this path and see how many people you can run down.

Then I began to head home. I took my time as I walked through Tamagawadai Park, pausing often to listen to the cicadas. Of course I was unable to do so, because as the great intellektual, Masahiko Fujiwacko, informed us, only Japanese enjoy insect sounds or some horsepooky like that. Frustrated at my racial/ethnic/national origin inferiority, I gave up and left.

Not long afterward, I reached Denenchofu eki. (That's a real Japanese word. No need for it here, but I threw it in just to show that I am a member of an in-group. Watch this: 駅. Oooohhhh, kanji!) Denenchofu has been referred to as the Beverly Hills of Tokyo, apparently by folks who have never been to Beverly Hills. Most folks here are successful in some way, or else descendants of people who owned land in the area years ago. People do not become successful in Japan unless they obey the rules. Which rules, I don't know, but I guess they do.
I had mixed emotions as I returned to my mansion. Why can't the rest of the world be as polite, law-abiding, and rule-obeying as we are in Japan? You'd have to try really hard to find anyone other than a non-Japanese breaking rules or laws here. It's all part of the unique uniqueness of the country. I aspire to be able to do as the folks I saw today, but I haven't the guts, for I don't think the koban-sitters would understand.

WTF does blogger preview have no resemblance to the actual post? Why do I have to play around in HTML? OK, back to the old editor. It wasn't perfect, but it's better than the new and improved version.


  1. Wow. All that misbehavin' thrill-seekin' must have been your gaijin imagination. Or else it was a uniquely unique exception, Our Man's seen many of them too.

    Word verification was "bless", BTW.

  2. It may have been the new cola-flavored 5% alcohol chuhi that I had after lunch. Not being used to the hard stuff, it may have caused hallucinations.

  3. Anonymous10:20 AM

    I'm guessing by your blog you don't do a lot of driving. If not, your missing a whole world of shenanigans. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly mean, I drive the speed limit.

  4. No, I haven't driven here since about 2000. In the early 90s I spent a year and a half in Toyama and had a 1989 Toyota Corina. It had the then legally required loud bell sound that began to clang once the car went over 80 or 100 kph(?) or so. Had to learn to just drive and ignore the clang or I would have been run over. The clanger mysteriously stopped working after a few trips from Toyama to Tokyo.

    I avoid driving and car ownership now as I don't need the extra fun. By the way, is there a purpose for lanes on the roads in Japan?

  5. I take it you had a particularly difficult Sunday?
    At least you got out of the house...

  6. No, it wasn't difficult. It was an average day.

  7. Anonymous11:03 PM

    The barbecue sign actually does say "barbecues (and fireworks) prohibited." But I'm not really shocked that they're breaking the rules, considering their youth.


  8. Yes, I know. I was being sarcastic.

    Unfortunately,rule-breaking in general isn't age related in my experience. Watch mama-chari riders violate as just one example.