I have only been (back) in Japan for about a week and one thing that really stands out is the sheer number of pedestrians with apparent death wishes. The number of people who have displayed very little common sense to traffic safety is astonishing.
Cases in point:
One afternoon, around 3:00pm, Kiyomi and I were driving to her parent’s house and the local primary school was out. There was a huge procession of kids walking down the left hand side of the road. Some of the kids were well behaved and walking down without causing any trouble. Others were running down the road without a care in the world, weren’t looking out for oncoming cars or anything. I had two kids decide to suddenly rush out onto the road and chase their friends. If the car had been a bit closer to them and my reflexes a bit slower…?
The following afternoon, down the bottom on the same street the lights were on green and cars were going through the intersection, the pedestrian lights on the other-side were on red and what should three high-school kids from Okazaki High School decide to do? Ride straight through the lights without a care as to what traffic might be coming.
Next day, back on the same road, (we were driving up it this time), we spotted a car parked on the side of the road and were in the process of driving past it when the occupant decides she’ll get out of the car. Opened the door, didn’t even bother checking if there was any traffic behind her, and stepped out onto the road.
People, it is not too difficult to check for cars when you’re crossing the road or getting out of a car! Do so and you may avoid being a hood ornament in the near future!