Thursday, November 13, 2008
For a high-tech country Japan adopts some pretty low-tech solutions. Mostly this has to do with keeping as many people as possible in some kind of employment - how else could you explain the old man in a hard hat and rubber flip-flops directing non-existent traffic around clearly-marked roadworks on a narrow backstreet? Or elderly ticket collectors who stand behind desks within touching distance of a self-service machine? All day today I watched two women work a 200-metre stretch of road with a twine brush and a dustpan the size of half a sledge, sweeping zelkova leaves into piles by the pavement. When they left at four, the road was no cleaner than it had been when they started.