If you found me searching for the lyrics to the children's song, you can find them here.
I am a researcher in bionanotechnology currently living and working in Tokyo. I moved out here nearly three years ago, against my better judgement but in search of adventure. It has certainly been an adventure and not one I would have missed for the world.
I am trying to retrain as a designer and you may see the odd example of my work appear here as I progress.
I also indulge in opinionated rambling.
All the artwork by Nell on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Japanese bureaucracy pt II
You may remember some time ago, I suggested that bureaucracy was something the Japanese excelled at and I felt I would have to get used to it? I was right. On the whole though, it does seem to work. Let us take the example of the car park attendants:
There are no large multistory car parks in Tokyo, or if there are, I haven’t seen them. What there are are countless tiny car parks with a small number of spaces behind every shop above a certain size (just enough for the customers), and each and every one of these tiny car parks has at least one attendant. I estimate the ratio of spaces to attendants to be around 10:1. In fact, today I visited a bank with a carpark like something out of The Fifth Element, it can’t have had room for more than 6 cars, but it had two attendants. Two! That’s 1/3 of a car park attendant per space! Somehow though, all these car parks are free, in spite of the cost to the companies of employing these men to mostly stand around and smile. On top of that, all of these people have jobs they seemingly enjoy, you get quickly in and out of the car park with comfort and ease and the prices still stay low. I can’t quite work out how it works but it works. Most of the time…
So this brings me on to the small matter of fire insurance, something I need to buy for the apartment I am currently living in. There is one shop I can buy it from, in order to buy it I must be a member of the shop, in order to be a member of the shop I must be a student registered at the university, I am not and never will be a student registered at the university so I cannot buy insurance.
Them: “but you MUST buy insurance!”
Me: “Can I buy it without being a member of your shop?”
Me: “Is there any way I can become a member of your shop?”
Me: “Then I can’t buy insurance.”
Them: “but you MUST buy insurance!!”
And so it goes on…
1. Oh it was SO COOL! We drove into the entrance, where a turntable rotated the car through 180 degrees so we were facing the way we came in. We then backed into something that looked like a cross between a garage and a car wash and got out of the car. The car was lifted up and STORED ON A SHELF untill we were ready to leave, when it was brought back down (facing the right way) and we drove back out again. It made me so happy.
2. They all do seem quite extrodinarily cheerful. They are, almost without exception, elderly men either close to or past retirement age and they all have weather-beaten chamis leather faces marked with deep crows feet and laughter lines.
3. Whatever you may have heard about Tokyo being the most expensive city in the world, I have yet to see any evidence of that. The cost of living is considerably lower than even Nottingham.
4. By which I mean soft and marked with lines, not “yellow”. Tchh.