One of the great mysteries of a visit to Japan is why the most efficient nation on earth has the most hopeless taxi drivers. They seem to spend half their time asking people the way. One of the reasons is that house numbers do not run consecutively, they run historically- that is in the order in which the house was built. Thus No 1 Tokyo Road can be a mile away from No 2 Tokyo Road.
On my last visit to Japan I hired a car, which was very stressful because for most of the time I couldn’t work out where I was going. All the Sat Nav systems seem to be in Japanese and I couldn’t find one that operated in English. On the other hand, the Japanese Highway Code has been translated into English. Here are a few helpful extracts:
At the rise of the hand of policeman stop rapidly. Do not pass him or otherwise disrespect him.
When a passenger of the foot hove in sight, tootle the horn to him melodiously at first. If he still obstacles your passage, tootle him with vigour and express by word of mouth ‘Hi, Hi’.
Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in the roadway. Avoid entanglement of the dog with your wheelspokes
Go soothingly on the grease-mud, as there lurk the skid demon. Press the brake of the foot as you roll around the corners to save the collapse and tie-up.
Courtesy of John Julius Norwich.