Friday, April 25, 2008

"Lining-up Progress"

Continuing to look around in 2008 Japan and compare it to 1984-1992 Japan, another issue that comes to mind is standing in lines. When I arrived, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that at banks and fast-food places, there were several parallel lines, rather than one central line that fed to the next open teller or order taker. So you'd go to the bank in a hurry and pick a short line, and if you were lucky, you'd get out before people who had been waiting longer. If you were unlucky, you'd get in a line and - noticing that it wasn't moving - you'd take a closer look up the line and there would be a time-machine visitor from the deep dark ages who didn't know how to interact with machines, or someone who brought in a stack of bank books to update (for colleagues?), or some such thing, and you'd be standing there in frustration watching people who had come in after you, smoothly gliding up to another machine, completing their banking, and leaving while you stood there.

What to do... getting out of line at that stage would mean getting in the back of a line twice as long, which might contain its own glacially slow biped... etc. etc. So I imagine that you can imagine my happiness spike when they finally got around to setting it up so there was only one line, and people at the front of the line just went to whichever machine was open first.

Same thing with escalators - they would immediately jam up and they were good only for the effort saved in not walking. If you were in any kind of a hurry, the only way to zoom ahead was to use the stairs. Don't believe me that people jammed them up? Have a look at this video from 1991:

And um... yeah, that's it. I need to get some sleep now!

Sore dewa, mata,

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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