Plain Talk


Road Safety in Tokyo by Nivas S. Gulavani

The day I landed on Narita Airport from India, first thing I noticed was a high road safety culture and that is why I chose to write about this topic. When I got down from the bus near my apartment place, I saw many Japanese residents waiting to cross the road even though there was no vehicle in sight on both ends of the road. Pedestrians calmly crossed the road when green signal flashed demonstrating very high standard of road safety in front of foreigner like me.

Public transport is the main mode of transport for long distance travel for Tokyo residents. People walk to the nearest stations, from stations to work places and to the nearby places. Systematic walking paths are designed on sides of the vehicle roads for comfortable and safe walking. Foot paths for pedestrians are guarded from vehicle roadways using non corrosive stainless steel or non metallic railing as a physical barrier so that even by mistake pedestrians shall not step on vehicle path especially school children. Foot paths are designed wide enough for bicycle riders and walkers to move without much trouble and there are no obstructions in any form which may result into tripping hazard to pedisrians.It is really a pleasant and safe experience to walk on these foot paths even for handicapped and blind persons also.

Road crossing systems from one foot path to another are carefully designed with proper light signal system and white colour painted road markings indicating appropriate path of crossing the road for pedestrians without subjecting them to any risk of meeting any accident on crowded roads. However only providing proper hardware does not work many times. Here in Tokyo it is supported with high discipline followed by each and every citizen including all pedestrians and vehicle drivers reinforcing road safely.

Riding bicycle is the second most important transport means adopted in Tokyo. Cycle riders use well designed foot paths without subjecting them to any undue risk from any heavy vehicle movement. For kids there are special seats with seat belts for safety and using these seats with seat belts I have seen many kids enjoying their safe bicycle rides with parents. Proper care taken for kids riding with elders on cycles is something unique and it appealed to me. I have watched children as young as fives years old riding cycle on Tokyo roads and safely moving under the watchful eyes of their parents. Wherever there is a road bridge, crossing paths are provided for cycle riders to take cycle up or down the stair to cross the bridge. One can take entire round of Tokyo smoothly using his or her bicycle and that is the beauty of the entire road system here.

Here vehicle drivers' respect pedestrians and cycle riders and they always wait patiently for them to cross the road without any undue haste. They do not rush with their vehicles and approach pedestrians when signal is about to turn red. They wait at safe distance away and among vehicles also they always maintain 3-5 metre safe distance as told to them in driving school books. Safety is all about following rule by one and all and here even one does not find breaking the rule by someone exceptionally also. Even in vehicles passengers at back seats also fasten their seat belts and in buses announcements are made like airplanes to fasten their belts. Passenger’s safety is always first priority here in this city.

I have not observed any vehicle parked on road or on foot path which poses a potential threat for a road accident. Parking places are well identified and located. When parked vehicle comes out from parking lot for approaching main road, safety of pedestrians from parked vehicle crossing foot path is taken care by two security men standing both side of parking place gate with red light flashing in their hands for signalling to vehicle driver and pedestrians. If any vehicle stops on road for little longer duration for any reason, immediately it is surrounded and cordoned with red indicators all around and security persons take their positions on both ends of the vehicle with flashing red lights in hand to guide vehicles passing by to avoid any slightest chance of misunderstanding resulting in any unwanted road event. All the security men guarding road safety found working enthusiastically with smile on their faces and every time they thank the pedestrian passing the place.. They looked thrilled to perform all important road safety work assigned to them.

Special care is taken for school children when they cross roads. I have observed tow ladies standing at two ends of the road with yellow flags are carefully helping children for crossing the road.

Noise normally leads to irritation, irritation leading to mistakes and ultimately it can lead to an event. However here in Tokyo even at the crowded crossing of the roads I have not observed any noise, horn sounds , shootings’, cycle bell sounds, pushing each other, rushing to go ahead etc which can trigger emotions causing any event. Everywhere vehicles, pedestrians, cycle riders move orderly, calmly and quietly without disturbing others. A high Japanese cultural stamp is seen all over these places. Trees grown on road side as a part of environment protection program are properly clamped so that they grow straight up without creating any obstruction for pedestrians and vehicles passing nearby.Hapazardly on roads and foot paths can block vision of pedestrians or vehicle drivers which can lead to an unwanted event. Every road safety aspect has been taken into consideration to avoid any road accident. Road safety it viewed from all angle to avoid any unsafe condition on the roads.

For a foreigner like me, it is really heartening to see such an extra ordinary road safety culture and experience on roads of one of the largest and busiest city in the world. One can learn many things from this experience. Such a safety culture drastically reduces possible accident events and citizen can safely and happily return to their families after work.

What’s App With You?


Hungry Shark World:

The sharks are back! Hungry Shark World is the latest Hungry Shark game series created by Future Games of London. Hungry Shark World is the successor of the famous Hungry Shark Evolution and this time they are taking on the entire world. The game has used a more cartoonish graphics style and contains more sharks. All of its sharks exist today (except for Megalodon). Unlike in Hungry Shark Evolution, all the "Sharks" are legitimate and are not creatures that aren't actual sharks, for example the Big Daddy (Dunkleosteus) and Mr. Snappy (Mosasaurus). The game has many features, including Mega Gold Rush and three different locations in the World. Take control of a very Hungry Shark in this action packed aquatic adventure. Survive as long as possible by eating everything that gets in your way!

Bushido Bear:

Don't mess with an angry bear! Or a sword-wielding ninja! Not to mention an angry, sword-wielding ninja bear of course! Bushido Bear is an original action game by Spry Fox, the developer of the award-winning games Triple Town, Steambirds & Alphabear. Defend your forest against endless waves of evil demons by hacking and slashing through your foes with two giant swords! Slice and dice the invaders for as long as you can survive. As you play Bushido Bear, you'll unlock new ninja characters and upgrade your existing characters, which will change the way you play the game. Lone Cub is slow but can slip past enemies thanks to his small size. Smoky Bear can teleport anywhere instantly. Neo Bear slows down time as he plans his attacks. You'll want to collect and try out all the bears!


Tokyo Voice Column


How to Survive the Rainy Season in Tokyo by Kevin Keane

Imagine a very hot, muggy day and then imagine it raining all day on the same day. That's the Japanese tsuyu (the rainy season) in a nutshell. Here are some ways to cope with it:

1) Stay inside the whole time and only eat canned food and take-out. Tell your boss you have mononucleosis and you have to stay at home for several weeks so as not to infect everybody at the office.
2) Visit Hokkaido for a month if you can take off and enjoy the nice cool weather and the lack of a rainy season there.
3) Move to Hokkaido. Then you only have to deal with the freezing cold weather during the winter there. (You can't have everything in life.) On the bright side, they say there are no cockroaches in Hokkaido!
4) Buy a small tent. Drape it over your head and use a telescope or periscope to see outside. This is the only effective way to escape the rain when walking outside. Forget umbrellas or raincoats; this is the most effective way to deal with the constant precipitation. By the way, you won't have to worry about bumping into other people. Anybody who sees you will assume you've gone bonkers and go out of his or her way to avoid you.
5) If you can't afford a tent then get a large trashbag and cut a hole in it for your head. Then wear a wide-brimmed safari hat on your head. If anyone asks, say you're looking for Mt. Fuji or the Amazon.
6) Go nudist. Well, at home at least. This ploy works better if you're single and don't have to deal with disapproving glances (or attempts not to glance, depending on your physique/figure or the degree of your partner's prudishness). I don't recommend trying this outside unless you want to be placed in an air-conditioned mental hospital.
7) Learn to love the Japanese tsuyu. After the rainy season is over it'll be hot and dry for the rest of the summer to the extent that you'll actually start to miss the monsoon season.

I hope the above helps. If not, a nice cold beer might help raise your spirits. Just don't drink too much!







Guesthouse Tokyo

10 minutes to Ikebukuro.


safe and accessible solution for your accommodation needs in Tokyo.

Sakura House

1830 monthly furnished rooms at 204 locations in Tokyo.


Private furnished rooms in Roppongi, Akasaka, Azabu-Juban etc.

J&F Plaza

Furnished & unfurnished guesthouses and apartments in Tokyo.

May Flower House

Tokyo furnished apartments. Ginza, Roppongi, Yotsuya and more.

TenTen Guesthouse

33,000yen/30 days for working holiday students.


Private furnished rooms in Tokyo with free internet. Call us first or call us last!

Hassle free moving starts from 6000yen.

Tokyo Helping Hands

Very flexible working hours to effectly help you with moving, deliveries, disposal, storage and more!

AirNet Travel

We'll cut you the best air ticket deals anywhere.

Fun Travel

Discount air travel & package tours 2min from Roppongi Stn.

No.1 Travel

We go the extra mile for you. International air tickets and hotels.

JR Tokai Tours

Top-value travel to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya fron Tokyo by Shinkansen.

Matsuda Legal Office

All kinds of Visa, Immigration & Naturalization, International Marriage etc.

Futaba Visa Office

Licensed immigration lawyer & certified public tax consultant.

Coto Language Academy

Group lessons from ¥1,700 & Private lessons from ¥2,800.

iPhone Doctor

Will fix your iPhone and other smartphone at reasonable cost.

American Pharmacy

English speaking pharmacy since 1950.

Tokyo Skin Clinic

EU-licensed multi lingual doctors.

Takarada Electric

Visual equipment and home appliances.Overseas use and Tourist models.

Tokyo Speed Dating

1st & 3rd Sat. at Barin Roppongi.


The best way to meet single Japanese women. Parties held every week.


Japanese women & Western men.


Join us

50 Shades of Yikess