Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Tokyo, life can move fast

Remote control for TVs made in Japan have a button which when pressed can speed up a recorded program so all pauses in conversations are eliminated.

Anime action zips along so fast devotees come to assume that the pace of 
ordinary life is  S  L  O  W.

It is so easy to take a photograph that people in a hurry have gotten into the habit of taking a picture of a poster explaining a complicated procedure, say, so they don't have to stop and can read it later.

The point of most digital games is not strategy but lightning reflexes.

In fast-growing Tokyo neighborhoods, a house can be built in five days.

Trains on main lines are scheduled so passengers will not have to wait longer than five minutes. And still when the display flashes that a train is due momentarily, there will be a rush through the turnstiles and down the escalators. Passage through the turnstiles is made easy by simply flashing your unopened wallet by the reader, so it is possible to run through.

A doctor using a computer to display and analyze his patients' records can welcome a patient into his office, advise him, hand him a printed-out prescription for pills, and wish him on his way in three minutes. After your appointment, you pay your bill by inserting your card into a machine which will tell you how much you owe, and you insert money into the machine and a receipt comes out. You are away in the time it takes to hum the national anthem.

At big supermarkets there is never a need to wait for something to be restocked. When you take a can from a shelf, another can immediately slides into its place. When it is time to check out, a display will tell you which line is quickest. Some supermarkets don't have checkout lines at all--customers check themselves out on the honor system by swiping items across a reader.

At many barbers, scissors are too slow. The barber has at his elbow a rack of electric clippers so he can get you out in five minutes, including a swipe with a hot towel.

Soba is a popular lunch at least partly because it can be eaten standing at a counter in the time it takes a traffic light to change from red to green and back again. 

In order to save time in the subway, the twenty or so exits of main stations will be carefully marked so you can leave by the exit which will put you on the street going in the direction of your destination. 

Are Tokyo elevators faster than those in other cities?

But there is no rushing the pace in a public bath, which can easily take hours.

- Ernest LaForge 


  1. sometimes the fast pace of Tokyo sounds really fun and exhilarating, but all in all, I wish they'd slow down and actually live life because they're being pretty extreme

  2. Julia, the pace varies with the neighborhood of course. Right next to Shibuya Crossing, where 600 people can charge across the street when the light changes, there's a little park with a skateboard rink where people doze on benches. Back streets most anywhere have a leisurely pace. Just stay away from places with a lot of big illuminated advertising billboards and you'll be fine. Rick