Thursday, November 13, 2008

White Heat

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.

4 comments:

Montag said...

i think there is a solution to both the energy crisis and the unemployment problem in all of this: generate electricity by having people run on treadmills or inside a drum or pedaling a bike...

it'd probably take 40 man-hours to run a 60 watt light bulb for 5 minutes, but we have to subsidize our conspicuous consumption somehow right?

TeeTotallyNot said...

funny.. reminds me of the good ole days back in the GDR :)
and look where it got us...

Michael said...

Ha, the communist analogy occured to me too, though it seems a bit strange in a country as utterly capitalist as this one.
That treadmill idea has definite benefits - maybe we should start with ten days` compulsory service for all SUV drivers...

TeeTotallyNot said...

...or FAB - now that he's back in training, what better way to slim him down and light SJP at the same time..
come to think of it, bringing a torch would be a good idea..