Thursday, August 18, 2016

The traffic of Tokyo

There are many ways of moving around the city of Tokyo. The reputation of gridlock and hours to travel from A to B may have been true but these days are limited to the days of the odd earthquake and those special 1st September mornings when everything is disrupted deliberately to remind the general populace of what the day of a major earthquake will actually be like. Without the death, fires, collapsed buildings and washed up fish in the street of course. 

In these modern days the roads are, more likely than not, to be pleasantly clear. And then the occasional odd, somewhat surreal, occurrence will, well, occur. Driving through central Tokyo recently I was somewhat surprised to look left whilst more than a little bored at a set of inevitable traffic lights and there, sitting next to me, was Super Mario. He looked, smiled, waved. And I was reminded of the early jet test pilots who would wear guerrilla masks so if any other plane saw them, no one would believe a word of it.

And so, some twenty years ago, I heard a story from a slightly older colleague, of local transport highly efficient over rough terrain and driven by an engine needing little more than the odd bucket of water every now and then. And opposite the New Otani Hotel in Akasaka was a set of railings, well embedded in the verge of the road, perfect for ensuring and solid anti-theft properties.  For he swore blind his boss used to come to work on a horse.

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