There’s still a lot of room for improvement regarding the availability of elevators in Japan’s train stations and other public facilities, but the country doesn’t have a totally sub-par record in helping the disabled retain their mobility. For example, on the sidewalks of most moderately large streets, you’ll find a row of bumps that operate as a guide for blind pedestrians, indicating not only any curves in the walkway but also warning of intersections and steps ahead.
Obviously, good manners dictate keeping the path clear, but in all that empty space one Japanese motorist saw a perfectly-placed parking spot. And while Japanese culture often errs on the side of not sticking your nose in other people’s business, it looks like one elementary school student couldn’t let this go without giving the driver a piece of his mind, even if the inconsiderate owner wasn’t anywhere to be found right then.
Called tenji blocks in Japanese, the indicators primarily come in two patterns. Oblong bars show the general direction the path continues in, and a field of dots is a caution sign placed in front of stairways or drops, and also intersections with other pedestrian paths or places where they’re bisected by automobile traffic.
The system kind of breaks down, though, when someone sticks something in the way of what’s marked as a useable path, like, for instance, an entire car.
It’s possible the driver simply forgot about the tenji blocks, since in many towns they’re so ubiquitous that unless you’re actively using them, your brain gradually stops registering them and eventually they sort of blend into the sidewalk. Maybe the driver thought that since he has a compact kei car, it wouldn’t be too much trouble to navigate around it, or was planning to come right back and move his car in just a few minutes.
Whatever the case, he apparently was gone long enough to inconvenience at least one blind person, and also long enough for someone who saw what happened to compose a stern reminder about proper parking protocol.
The note, taped to the passenger-side window, reads: “A vision-impaired person was relying on the tenji blocks to walk, and ended up stumbling right into your car. Please put more thought into where you park. Please think about why the tenji blocks are there.”
The firm yet diplomatically phrased reprimand is signed, “A Fourth Grader at Haebaru Elementary School.”
Japanese Internet commenters had the following to say:
“The driver should be ashamed of himself.” "Why is he parking so far up on the sidewalk anyway?” “Gutsy move, but you can’t argue with what the kid said.” “Even I feel a little guilty, and I didn’t even do anything!” “I’m skeptical about whether the writer is really a fourth grader, but either way, the car’s owner is garbage.”
Regarding the question about the legitimacy of the writer’s claimed identity, we’re not entirely sure what to believe. While the characters are neatly written, Japanese schools, and society in general, tend to be sticklers about penmanship, and if anything, the spacing and not quite parallel lines seem like signs that the paper is indeed the work of a kid. In any case, we have a hunch that the hallways and classrooms of Okinawa’s Haebaru Elementary School are kept extremely tidy.
Source: Hamster Sokuho
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