Tokyo Damage Report

Tokyo Walkers

 

engrish of the day:

soundtrack: lee perry ‘return of super ape ‘

 

anyone who still thinks the Japanese are conformist and efficient and loving order and routine . . . should try walking around shinjuku sometime. The Tokyo sidewalks are nuts. Chaotic. Just anarchy in slow motion. I ‘m sure they are not as nuts as, say, Bombay or Hong Kong, but for a first world country,trust me . . .they are not on the heezy. Especially in MY ‘hood, which is full of stupid ignorant lazy smelly immigrants who don ‘t know the rules and should all go back home. And besides me, there are other foreigners also. in Tokyo, the sidewalk is like a street: you have to look both ways before doing ANYTHING. You can no more cross a crowded sidewalk than cross a crowded street without getting hit. It ‘s so bad that people in a hurry just leap the barrier and start jogging in the STREET if they need to get somewhere. It ‘s especially fun to deal with the idiots if you are on a bicycle. So, based on 7 months of riding both on the street and the sidewalk, here ‘s my

PARTIAL TAXONOMY OF FUCKED UP TOKYO WALKERS

—for eventual use in ‘frogger-like ‘ video game —

BLUFFERS — usually (for some reason) young women, who operate on this principle: ‘as long as we both pretend I didn ‘t see you, it ‘s ok if I cut you off or force you off the road. ‘ Even if you are barreling towards them fast on a bike, they will stare at a point just above and to the left of your head and continue walking as if there was no oncoming traffic.

BLURTERS— people in a hurry (often deliverymen) who just walk out the door of a building and into the sidewalk. No one has told them that, just because the sidewalk was super crowded the last 1,000 times, that it might also be crowded NOW. Blurters are apt to appear at any time, at any place, going at full velocity even as they exit the building.

CELLIES — people talking on mobile phones (who may or may not be also pushing babies or riding bikes) …they are prone to be totally oblivious to their surroundings and make sudden unpredictable stops or turns.

CONFUSED SOULS — people (usually small-town hicks or dumb gaijin confused by tokyo ‘s utter absence of street signs or numbers) that suddenly stop dead in their tracks in the middle of a busy sidewalk. Or maybe they suddenly realize they are going the wrong way so they do a u=turn right into you.

DRIFTERS — people walking alone, who — without using any sort of mirror or periscope — seem to know you are behind them and closing fast. They also use their ESP powers to divine which side you intend to pass them on. Then they — slowly slowly — drift to that side so there is just one inch too little for you to pass. If you try to pass on the other side, they will JUST HAPPEN to start drifting to that side, too.

DRUNKS — some of the worst, especially since they usually appear in groups. Drunks are oblivious to oncoming pedestrians, and prone to wildly swerve this way and that. in the game the drunks shouldn ‘t even appear until after the Baloon Level, they ‘re so hard. Some say that the best way to avoid hitting drunks is to be drunk yourself, since drunks very rarely run over one another, just innocent people.

KEISATSUKAN — cops. You can ‘t do anything remotely interesting within 10 meters of them.

OBAASANS — grannies. At least they ‘re not prone to sudden stops and sudden turns. They don ‘t do ANYTHING suddenly. These slow obstacles tend to drift into the very center of the sidewalk because they are either oblivious, or they have a Confucian belief that age entitles them to respect.

OTHER OBSTACLES: parked bicycles, random bundles of trash thrown in the street, and the worst: huge pallets of merchandise which store-owners leave on the sidewalk while they take all day to load them into the store. These invariably occur right at the same time as WALLS, CONFUSED SOULS, or SQUEAKERS.

The dreaded SLOW MOTION CRUNCH. This is the most perplexing of tokyo ‘s street hazards. On an otherwise empty street, any 4 people walking at totally different speeds, will tend to converge on the same point, forming a human wall, JUST AS YOU CONVERGE ON THAT POINT ALSO. you can see this coming from a mile away but, as if in a dream, there is nothing you can do to stop it. arrrrhhh!!!

SQUEAKERS — fools on bikes on the sidewalk that don ‘t oil the brakes. Their hideous squeaking deafens you and causes the screen of the game to go blank for a second or two, during which time, god only knows who you will hit.

SPAZZES — this is a ‘real life ‘ video game. Meaning, you can ‘t go all GRAND THEFT AUTO on people. You can ‘t hit them, you ‘ll go to jail. your only defense on the road is a tiny little CLOWN HORN. Usually, this will cause people to try to get out of your way, if it ‘s not crowded. But the SPAZZES —typically LOST SOULS, OBAASANS, or CELLIES —the SPAZZES are in such a world of their own, that the CLOWN HORN has the opposite effect: they just spin around and go ‘guh—— ‘ and flail left and right until they are re-orientated into consensus reality. During their spaz phase they are much MORE likely to hit you than to get out of your way. and you never know who might be a secret spaz. . ..

TOUTS — people passing out tissue paper, flyers for karaoke, or repeated offers of ‘massage ‘ not only clog the street, but also the ‘massage ‘ ladies sometimes follow you like little lampreys. If lampreys could have herpes. They are tenacious and require some effort to shake off.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS: when the light turns green, it unleashes a wave of slow-moving fools who block traffic . . . even a minute AFTER the light turns green, the human wave is still going strong, causing congestion 50 meters up the street from the intersection.

WALLS – usually groups of grannies, salarimen, or tourists. People whose mission is to walk side by side and see if they can block off the entire sidewalk. Naturally they are walking extra slow because they are mainly concentrating on their amazingly witty conversation. WALLS are exceptionally exasperating if there are only 2 or 3 people but they STILL manage to block the whole sidewalk just through (one assumes) years of special-ops training and misanthropy.

. . . and this list doesn ‘t even BEGIN to include the fun things people do when you ‘re riding the bike IN THE STREET. Anyone who wants to write the code for this video game, contact me. I guarantee it ‘ll be a huge hit among people who enjoy being frustrated, stressed-out, and slow….

 

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