Friday, July 29, 2016

Land of the Small

Just returned from visiting Japan, a nation always interesting...

Due to aging, this trip was slightly uncomfortable. In terms of my personal aging, I'm physically not as flexible as in past decades as I creep near toward retirement age. Japan is built for people six inches (15-cm) or more shorter. The population is narrower and lighter. Buses, chairs, etc. are designed for an average Japanese adult, plus or minus very little. Japanese buses and airplanes manage to add an extra row or two compared to designs aimed at Europe or North America. If you visit Japan, you'll soon see & feel what I mean...

The second point of aging is Japan's infrastructure & cityscape. In the late 1970s when I first visited Japan, much of the infrastructure looked new. Bridges, highway guardrails, overpasses, etc. seemed clean or maybe dusty. Now much of every city is streaked or ridden with rust and clearly deteriorating. Factory areas have suffered as production moved abroad: buildings are often underutilized or derelict. Slow depopulation of rural areas, along with mercantile difficulties, left dismal & darkened shopping areas, with shuttered shops and a general depressing atmosphere.

There are surely dynamic areas and thriving neighborhoods throughout Japan. Exciting & different experiences can be encountered everywhere. People are very kind, usually quite curious, and ultimately friendly. But there's a layer of grime over much of the declining Japanese nation...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment?