Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting towed - The empty backstreets of Tokyo

When you drive the backstreets of London, or most English towns for that matter, one issue that stands out is how the roads are lined with a never ending sea of parked cars. Finding somewhere to park your own car would seem to be a major challenge in its own right. So how come the streets of Tokyo are so clean and clear? There isn't a single car deposited by the pavement overnight. 

The issue in Japan is that you have to have a police certificate proving you have off-road parking before you can even buy a car. Parking on-road is not allowed (short term drop off being an exception) and so if your house doesn't have a garage or drive way you're forced to lease a permanent lot where your car can be parked. And a relatively large contingent of usually old and retired men patrolling the streets will come around and check. And at $700 a time for each infringement, it really is worth playing ball.

And if you do leave your car on the road and later find a kanji message chalked on the asphalt next to it, consider yourself lucky. The message says you're soon about to be towed if you don't move it. And if you find a kanji message chalked where your car should be, you were just a little to slow to read the first message.

The parked up streets of London
Nothing to see on the streets of Tokyo

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