picture of the day

Sign of the times

119 Comments

People puff away in a no-smoking area near Kamiyacho subway station in Tokyo.

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119 Comments
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Pumping and dumping CO2 into Green Japan :(

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Wow, big surprise eh? I guess that photos like this will put to rest the oft repeated stereotype of Japanese being polite, considerate, and law abiding.

Like so many things I've seen here, it is a case of there being a rule, but no enforcement/follow up. In the past, social pressure and shame were enough to make most people obey.These days, they aren't, but other mechanisms don't exist. It's the same in other areas, from traffic to education. Efforts are made to 'encourage' or 'covince' people to follow a rule/law, but there are no fines etc. Japan is trapped between the old ways and modern.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Green Japan! LOL!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

A typical example of selfishness and ignorance in Japan. The person who bows as you walk into a dept store will crush you to snag a seat on the train on the way home.

20 ( +26 / -7 )

Very typical of the selfish smoker, have to get their drug fix!

1 ( +16 / -14 )

These kinds of things has actually been going on for a very long time all over Japan. Japanese people are very inconsiderate and selfish in many ways. Maybe this news article will wake people up and show everyone the true reality on how Japanese people really are.

10 ( +16 / -7 )

Hey, many offices and even some restaurants at lunchtime are no-smoking these days, where else are they supposed to smoke, lol.

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

Once again the negative people here can't wait to pounce on the opportunity to express their frustration living here. What I see are millions and I mean millions of people daily passing through in and around shibuya station in Tokyo, one of the busiest in the world, and NOT one smoker. Maybe because nobody is standing around, or maybe they are hiding somewher under stairways, but the fact is, less than 1 % of Japanese people are rude. the negative and frustrated person will keep seeing and experiencing negativity. Try a Yoga class or take a vacation.

3 ( +17 / -15 )

It's funny, I've never seen anyone be reprimanded by anyone else for smoking, whereas I've been told not to 2 or 3 times near stations. Politely, but like people talking on the train it's only the gaijins that get it again. Although I had to laugh when told in English "If you don't stop fine two thousand yen". It was like Austin Powers. I said "ni-man?" and he said no, two thousand. Not so bad I thought!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just on the topic of smoking in general, I'm quite surprised and outraged when I enter a restaurant with my family, I have to small children and I'm asked if I want the smoking section or not. I truly feel bad and sorry for kids that have to endure their parents selfish smoking habit and have to sit thru a meal in a stinking smoking section. Also, how about those parents that smoke in their cars with window rolled up. I think a law has to be passed to protect children against 2nd hand smoke.

15 ( +21 / -5 )

I am an avid NON-smoker... but smokers have their right too, so do restaurant owners. Government should not be telling people when and how to smoke, but we as society should be able to use property laws to our advantage. A non smoker should be able to sue a smoker for assault and smoker should keep that in mind. Society based on law works but society based on government nanny state and bunch of moaners doesn't.

-14 ( +9 / -24 )

smokin' clean style. losers

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@nisegaijin

i agree, it seems that Smoking has become a stigma, what is next do they have to wear emblems to identify them, oh i am also a non smoker.

-5 ( +3 / -9 )

I totally understand having 'no smoking' sections in restaurants. Nothing worse than someone lighting up when you are trying to enjoy a meal, especially when it's a crammed-in place which is often the case in Japan. Also, certain places outside should be designated as 'smoking' or 'non-smoking'. As an ex-smoker I can sympathize with the stress of trying to find a place to smoke these days but rules are rules and people should be more considerate. However, one thing I cannot agree with is making bars completely non-smoking like they have done in Australia. Hell, most of the people I know who go to bars ARE smokers. Smokers are probably their main clientele. I know it's all to do with avoiding passive smoking lawsuits etc. but people should know the risks. People are becoming too soft these days. Even though I realized how much smoke does stink after I gave up (a good test is to smell your clothes when you get home or the next day), the smoke was part of the ambience of the bar. The smoke is the essence of the bar as much as the drinks are. Being clean and health-conscious is fine but sometimes I feel we are going a little TOO far these days. Just my two cents.

0 ( +5 / -4 )

@nisegaijin @dennis bauer

what you have written is total hogwash! Do smokers have the right to smoke? YES! Do smokers have the right to not follower the rules? NO!!

11 ( +15 / -3 )

smack the cigarette out of their hand if it's a non-smoking zone

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I have no problem at all with smokers as long as their smoke doesnt affect me or my children. I even take the trouble to thank smokers who see us waiting at a crossing and make efforts to keep away from the children, shield them or even sometimes actually put their cigarette out.

What I can`t stand is seeing children hanging around in smoking rooms while their parents puff away, or people that walk down the street with complete disregard for the people around them - that is rude & selfish. If me and the children block the pavement, I apologise and gather everyone to the side so whoever is behind us can get past. i wish the smoker in front of us blowing ash and smoke into our faces would show us the same courtesy.

0 ( +12 / -13 )

Cigarette smoke has been proven to cause cancer. Which means when a smoker is smoking around others he/she is essentially assaulting other's health. Simple solution. Pass a law that defines smoking around others as assault. An offence that can be reported and the perpetraitor arrested for a crime. And enable the public with the right to demand that smokers desist or face police involvement.

That will make them think more carefully about where their selfish habit takes place. Smokers if you want to kill yourselves, have at it, but leave the rest of us out of it.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

no shame

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"Society based on law works but society based on government nanny state and bunch of moaners doesn't."

More Libertarian nonsense. Having laws against smoking and having a government enforce them equals "nanny-state" to you? Seriously?

But your massive court system to support all that litigation is not "nanny state"?

Give it a rest. the last thing any nation needs is more silly litigation. Pass meaningful laws and enforce them. No nanny nonsense here. And this Libertarian fantacy can stay where it is, in the losing end of politics.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Once again the negative people here can't wait to pounce on the opportunity to express their frustration living here.

How are people "pouncing" when the picture clearly shows smokers having no regard for the non-smoking sign?

I am an avid NON-smoker... but smokers have their right too, so do restaurant owners. Government should not be telling people when and how to smoke, but we as society should be able to use property laws to our advantage.Governments have every right to tell smokers at what age and where they can smoke. After all, it is the public tax money that will pay for their medical care when they get smoking related illnesses. People can smoke all they want - in their own home and car. Restaurants can make their own rules to. I don't go to places that don't have a non-smoking section. One of the reasons why I think starbucks in so popular in this country is because we can escape the smokers. I know I don't go there for the coffee!

This is a huge problem for those of us who don't smoke. Smokers ignore sign and smoke wherever they like. It is rude and inconsiderate. And as mentioned, the rules aren't enforced.

Personally, I think when entering places with kids, you shouldn't get a choice of where you sit. You sit in the non-smoking and the kid certainly isn't going to light up. I also hope that smoking in cars with kids is banded.

-10 ( +13 / -24 )

There is still around 30% of the population smoking regardless of the new restrictions in place. In other countries heavy taxes have placed smokes around $20 a pack and have even stricter restrictions on smoking, but there are still around 20-25% of people smoking in those countries. Sadly, smoking is hear to stay until it becomes illegal, which will never happen due to the revenue raised through taxes worldwide.

Quite a few of the stations around Tokyo and Chiba still have outdoor smoking areas near the stations, which is wrong. Private smoking areas should be made and smokers should have to pay to use them to cover their cost and upkeep. And, the fines for smoking in public should be much more severe and strictly enforced to stop images like this one taking place. I'm sure everyone has noticed the no smoking signs and stickers on the pavement all around Tokyo and chiba. Who do you think paid for them? 60% of the revenue to pay for those signs cam from non-smokers. If people wanna smoke they should be allowed to, but they should also have to pay for it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

tkoind2

Cigarette smoke has been proven to cause cancer.

Very true.

Which means when a smoker is smoking around others he/she is essentially assaulting other's health.

There isn't much evidence that second hand smoke is harmful.

-12 ( +5 / -16 )

@zen student

I don't agree... we ought to think of people who work in bars, pubs, clubs, etc.

It's their workplace... I feel so sorry for them having to put up with the daily onslaught of smoke... it must be awful to work under those conditions.

I think a complete ban in bars and restaurants is a good idea, and from that basis bars could apply for a special exemption... non-smoking should be the norm.

Just to say, I used to be a pretty heavy smoker and was very pro-smoking and pro-smokers rights but now I regret inflicting that horrible smoke on people.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hello JT, nice capture, but wondering the other half of this picture. Sometime smoking area & no-somking area are very near to each other. Its like, you can smoke there but not here. Anyways the girl and boy are on the wrong side of fence.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Bars restaurants clubs etc should have the choice whether to be smoking or smoke free and customers can have the choice whether to go to the smoking bar or not, none of this enforced stuff, let the grown ups decide for themselves, otherwise you must start regulating what people eat, when they can drink, and how they have sex and other aspects of their lives. Too much govt intervention in peoples lives is wrong.

If you want to go to a smoking bar and inhale smoke then you are free to choose to do that, if you dont then you dont have to, simples. Same for staff, if you dont want to work in a smokey bar then you dont have to, if you dont mind it then you can.

Smoking in public spaces like streets shopping centers etc should be controlled though, nothing i hate more than smelling cigarettes waft in my face when i walk past the smoking area outside the station etc, but in reality i could choose to use the other exit or stairway knowing that the smoking area is outside the south exit or what ever.

And this from a hard out heavy smoker who smoked 4 packs a day for over 40 years till i quit a couple of years ago. I now hate the smell of cigarettes more than anyone.

Let people decide their own fate FFS.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Commander Cody and his lost Planet Airmen: "Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette"... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyYLrVNKE68

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How are people "pouncing" when the picture clearly shows smokers having no regard for the non-smoking sign?

True. They just look like major dumb-asses by claiming it only happens in Japan. There are a whole lot of people here who-

Are here and hate it Those with an axe to grind that just HAVE to denigrate Japan and the Japanese every chance they get

Stop posting. You (plural 'you' aimed at the few dozen unhappy ones on here every single damned day) don't have to read Japan Today. You don't have to purposely seek out this site every day just so you can become righteously angry about something else the Japanese don't do just like you do , and so are tragically wrong.

Go somewhere else....it'll be better for your blood pressure.

11 ( +21 / -11 )

If you want to go to a smoking bar and inhale smoke then you are free to choose to do that, if you dont then you dont have to, simples. Same for staff, if you dont want to work in a smokey bar then you dont have to, if you dont mind it then you can.

I don't agree with this. I think many people working in bars and restaurants are on relatively low-incomes and don't have much choice as to what kind of work they can do. For many of them it might also be a second job that they have to do to support their family.

It seems wrong to say to them: "You can either work in an unhealthy and even dangerous environment or find something else... "

Night after night in that terrible smoky environment... it's awful for them.

I think non-smoking should be the norm, and small bars up to a certain size (measured by floor area) could be allowed to apply for an exemption.

Smokers are the minority so why should their 'needs' take precedence over everybody else?

(This is all coming from an ex-heavy smoker)

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I don't care if smokers want to smoke, but they should be considerate of others.

My two pet peeves:

Outdoor seating become automatic smokers areas. I sit outside at Starbucks to enjoy the (relatively) fresh air, not a bunch of 2nd hand smoke.

People walking down the sidewalk while smoking and I have to breathe their exhaust. I take some satisfaction in using my higher lung capacity to jog by and get in front of them.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

They just look like major dumb-asses by claiming it only happens in Japan.

Well if you look at the smoking in many of our home countries, it does seem that this is a "Japan only" issue. Where I am from you can't smoke in bars, restaurants, places with no smoking signs... Failure to do so results in a fine and it is heavy enforced. Now if you're talking about the eastern European countries...

What kind of a reaction do you expect from posters when clearly the people in the picture are ignoring the rules and putting others' health at risk? A little perspective please.

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Readers, other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't care if ppl smoke. I don't want Tokyo turning in some nanny state.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

When the no-smoking laws hit the US ages ago, I didn't think it could happen here in Japan, but it's getting there. My office is completely smoke-free with the exception of smoking booths on every floor. Now we don't see tainted yellow desks or little burns on them.

It's a different situation outside like in the picture, where you can't really divide smokers and non-smokers. The laws and regulations are there, we now need people to enforce them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well if you look at the smoking in many of our home countries, it does seem that this is a "Japan only" issue.

Nope. I've seen people standing outside a hospital and smoking on the pavement painted 'No smoking zone'. Really look around you the next time you go to your country, don't just assume your countrymen are always doing the right thing or obeying all signage....

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Readers, we have already requested no more references to other countries please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I grew up with smokers(parents, etc all they quit by now). No-one lit up till the last person finished eating.

Personally don't smoke and check for restaurants here that show a smoking or non-smoking sticker or separate them by floor.

I got an ash-tray at home as some visitors smoke but also learned that lighting a few candles kills the smoke and smell.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Forgot to add and those lol "mushrooms/shapes" where you put a lit stumb in and it goes out naturally. Squashing out a cigarette causes most of the bad smell.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just imagine some poor folks with asthma or other breathing problems having to sit in a "non-smoking" restaurant where people smoke away. I think if the people are more educated on what smoking can do to your health (as in more public health announcements, ads, etc), they'll be more considerate to others.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Those signs are just there to be politically correct. No enforcement = useless.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Just raise the consumption tax to 2000 yen per pack (not cartons at certain stores) of cigarettes. Problem solved.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think smokers are among the healthiest people in Japan. I mean, every time they need to satisfy their addiction, they have to walk outside to a smoking area (or not). Sometimes the walk is down several flights of stairs. Then they have to walk back. They get fresh air (until they light up), and a bit of exercise.

Their non-smoking co-workers just sit at their desks and work. No fresh air, no exercise. Pitiful, eh?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

the fact is, less than 1 % of Japanese people are rude

I'd love to see your evidence for that, sport.

This picture is another great example of how terrified Japanese are to speak to each other. I'll bet you a pound to a penny there were hundreds of people wanting to take a quick break in that little green area - I know that place well, used to work upstairs from it - and not a single one of them had the guts to confront any one of the inconsiderate smokers who were flouting the regulation with complete disregard for anybody else.

Also observe the diligent turning away from the sign. This is the daily ritual of "If I don't make eye contact with it, it doesn't exist" which prevents so many from offering their seat to the pregnant, the elderly or the infirm on public transport.

Ask any Japanese what the qualities are which typify the Japanese character, and I guarantee you they'll say "We Japanese must consider the people around us, and not only think of ourselves. We should behave in a way that others will judge favourably" (or words to that effect).

And the picture above demonstrates very clearly just how much hogwash and doublethink that credo is.

-2 ( +19 / -20 )

I work in this area and the smokers there used to be a real nuisance. These days Minato-ku actually puts people there in the morning to make sure that people smoke in the designated area, so it is possible to walk down that street without being assaulted by cigarette smoke.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"There isn't much evidence that second hand smoke is harmful."

Absolute nonsense! Spoken like a Tobacco Company rep.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

lol great pic. should be up on failblog soon. haha and the thing is, even if you dont like smoking you cant say anything bad about this image as it looks like no one cared enough to bring it to the smokers attention that it was a nonsmoking area. So you cant blame the smokers, blame the people that tolerate it instead of acting.

I have pointed it out myself on several occasion in different countries when a person is smoking in a nonsmoking area. I feel that if i can hold my bladder until i get to an appropriate place then you can hold your habit.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"I don't care if ppl smoke. I don't want Tokyo turning in some nanny state."

More Libertarianism. I really think that the only thing that separates the Libertarian vision of how laws and government work and how Anarchists think it works, is the conservative attitude about it all. Both live under silly illusions that the modern world can function with no one to do any of the enforcement or maintenance work a society needs to function. What you call a "nanny state" is actually simple enforcement of rational laws. How you get "nanny state" out of that must have something to do with the insipid notions planted by the supporters of Libertarianism.

Pass harsh anti-smoking laws and enforce them. Let's call this what is is, proper enforcement of the law.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

it looks like no one cared enough to bring it to the smokers attention that it was a nonsmoking area. So you cant blame the smokers, blame the people that tolerate it instead of acting.

I think people are scared. I know personally I have told people to stop smoking in non-smoking areas and instead of "Oh, sorry" and walking away, was given a rather nasty reply. It's sad that this area has to put people there in the morning to stop smoking from smoking where they shouldn't be.

Ivan, I'd give you 10 thumbs up for that post if I could. Spot on!

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

That's what you call a peaceful demonstration. Good on them!

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I suppose no one is really breaking a law, unless they are seen by police breaking the law.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Ivan CoughanoffalotMAR. 29, 2012 - 12:29PM JST I'd love to see your evidence for that, sport. This picture is another great example of how terrified Japanese are to speak to each other. I'll bet you a pound to a penny there were hundreds of people wanting to take a quick break in that little green area - I know that place well, used to work upstairs from it - and not a single one of them had the guts to confront any one of the inconsiderate smokers who were flouting the regulation with complete disregard for anybody else. Also observe the diligent turning away from the sign. This is the daily ritual of "If I don't make eye contact with it, it doesn't exist" which prevents so many from offering their seat to the pregnant, the elderly or the infirm on public transport. Ask any Japanese what the qualities are which typify the Japanese character, and I guarantee you they'll say "We Japanese must consider the people around us, and not only think of ourselves. We should behave in a way that others will judge favourably" (or words to that effect). And the picture above demonstrates very clearly just how much hogwash and doublethink that credo is.

You seem to have some pretty strong feelings on this. Maybe you should head over to that station and tell all the Japanese smokers just how unacceptable their behavior is. You should have no problem finding it since you "know that place well."

I'm sure when you worked over there you spent countless moments of your time trying to set such people straight. Maybe all they really need is for somebody such as yourself to come along (again) and simply explain to them the right way to do things. You could make eye contact with them and let them know their hogwash and doublethink credo is no longer acceptable in this day and age.

4 ( +10 / -7 )

tkoind2MAR. 29, 2012 - 09:19AM JST

Cigarette smoke has been proven to cause cancer. Which means when a smoker is smoking around others he/she is

essentially assaulting other's health. Simple solution. Pass a law that defines smoking around others as assault

So that means if somebody lights up next to me, and I sock 'em in the jaw, I can claim self defense?

I like it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well said, Ivan. Spot on as usual!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The real 'sign of the times' WOULD BE the general apathy that exists towards infringements of the law in Japan, and the complete lack of enforcement, except that's nothing new at all. It doesn't even apply to just smoking: people ignore traffic safety laws (both for cars and bicycles) because it's 'inconvenient', parks with signs where signs clearly say "no fireworks, nor fires, and no ball-play" see kids playing hard-ball every day, and come summer families and/or kids having fireworks parties, etc.

I will say that in my long time here Japanese have gotten BETTER, in general, when it comes to trying to smoke in areas that are less crowded, but you ALWAYS get the ojisan or young punks lighting up wherever they want -- especially during enkai season (which is all the time).

The better question is why no one is doing anything about it. Signs mean absolutely nothing when your only method of enforcing the rules is to hope people understand and cooperate and endure a little inconvenience.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

tmarie: "I think people are scared. I know personally I have told people to stop smoking in non-smoking areas and instead of "Oh, sorry" and walking away, was given a rather nasty reply. It's sad that this area has to put people there in the morning to stop smoking from smoking where they shouldn't be."

You are correct, and again that's not limited to chiding someone for smoking in a non-smoking area. Look at the responses people sometimes get for not saying 'sumimamsen' after bumping into them, or if someone makes a comment about a person speaking too loudly on a cell phone on the train, or a young woman doing make up. If THOSE kinds of social faux-pas receive beatings and even murder by the person chiding -- and we hear about it all the time on here -- imagine pointing out to someone they are breaking the law? I had a friend who did it and got punched in the face. What happened? the station attendant came out and merely pulled my friend away, whispering 'sumimasen! daijoubu?' while the punk kept smoking and screaming obscenities. I'll give some people evil looks, or if I'm walking behind someone puffing smoke in my face I'll sometimes cough or express my disgust, but I won't go much further because if it results in a fight or something, I could legally be deported, and you would see THAT enforced no problem if the police got involved.

It's going to take a radical change in society before people on the street start asking others to abide by the law. Sure, some will mutter under their breath if they think you're doing something they don't accept, but I'm talking about actual enforcement of the law. It needs to start with police being SERIOUS, as well as station staff or people who own the establishments that people are illegally smoking around. It has to be deemed simply unacceptable, and then it will slowly start to change.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One thing they can do is print this kind of picture in the international media and talk about social morays and ignorance of the laws in Japan and make sure it gets attention HERE and people will start getting embarrassed and maybe the law start doing something about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many try to "strawman" argue those who are for any restriction to smoking. I believe most people in Japan, if they are not coerced, would simply like there to be a true non-smoking section in restaurants and other public places (like in Tully's, etc.) Not have to be put in a small token corner "non-smoking" section that gets smoke floating by.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapanMAR. 29, 2012 - 01:59PM JST I'll give some people evil looks, or if I'm walking behind someone puffing smoke in my face I'll sometimes cough or express my disgust, but I won't go much further because if it results in a fight or something, I could legally be deported, and you would see THAT enforced no problem if the police got involved.

If you got deported, you'd no longer be smithinjapan. ;-)

smithinjapanMAR. 29, 2012 - 01:59PM JST It's going to take a radical change in society before people on the street start asking others to abide by the law. Sure, some will mutter under their breath if they think you're doing something they don't accept, but I'm talking about actual enforcement of the law. It needs to start with police being SERIOUS, as well as station staff or people who own the establishments that people are illegally smoking around. It has to be deemed simply unacceptable, and then it will slowly start to change.

Actually, I think you're right.

Sure in the photo there appear to be only Japanese, but I have seen similar behavior from non-Japanese as well. Perhaps they are just doing what the Japanese around them are also doing. And, they can be just as abusive when confronted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Sure in the photo there appear to be only Japanese, but I have seen similar behavior from non-Japanese as well."

In Japan, right? It's not a Japanese-only problem, it's just that it's a big problem with enforcement here. Any foreign person also smoking in non-smoking areas should be chided/punished all the same.

"And, they can be just as abusive when confronted."

You've confronted them and know this for a fact?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hey, a picture of people breaking the law and their faces aren't mosaic'd!!

Smoking IS bad for you, so making it hard to do is not a bad thing. How long before everyone is weened off the addiction?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So that means if somebody lights up next to me, and I sock 'em in the jaw, I can claim self defense?

I like it.

You should try it - you might find yourself with a cigarette in your eyeball

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Foxie, "That's what you call a peaceful demonstration. Good on them!"

Then we who do not wish to suffer their second hand smoke should carry out our own peaceful demonstration. We can hose them and the area down with water. Afterall as summer approaches it is customary to waste water on the sidewalk. It isn't our fault that people are standing and smoking in that non-smoking area and are now soaking wet as a result.

Had they been in the proper smoking area, they would have remained dry. I think just place sprinklers in all these places and periodically douse them when too many smokers appear.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

cig sucks, weed is where every1 around can enjoy

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@salaryman uhm it is already that.

@Simon Phillips i was agreeing on the fact of the demonizing of smokers and about following rules, don't drive bikes, don't use keitai while driving, don't park here, don't litter, i think japantoday could post a photo everyday about some rule being broken. I do not endorse it, but look around you!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the main roads in my area have signs saying don't smoke while walking around.. I have reminded people several times, they tend to look very embarrassed afterwards. (sometimes I just give a passing "tobacco kusai yo~").

Sadly like all places there are some people that don't care about anyone else but themselves.

Smoking sucks, don't do it near me, or anyone else who doesn't choose to be exposed, simple.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I like the no smoking sign in the smoking area.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@naruhodo You must open your eyes in Shibuya. They have several ver large smoking areas. Also though, if you cross 45 degrees across from our beloved dog, there are people walking and smoking all over the place.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Oh I do the coughing and "kusai" comments regardless of signs or not. Pollute your house, your car but not MY air - and I used to be a social smoker.

An easy way to deal with smoking rates here would be to increase the taxes/price - as to about the same rate as to those in other developed nations. Thing is, that won't happen. Not with the heavy smoking oyajis running the country and the government owning part of Japan tobacco. Sickening.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Sue Rowell - wow, hostility issues much?

You make quite a lot of assumptions about me in your post, doubtless you're a trained CSI profiler or clairvoyant.

When I did want to use that area, I did take the time to ask people to stop smoking and was very pleased to find they obliged me. Too many people are too afraid to speak. I also have no qualms whatsoever about pointing out the hogwash and ritualistic nonsenses which prevent Japan from being better than it is, and that's why people like you give every post I make the thumbs down, regardless of the content.

Some people just don't like the truth.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

I can't see any smoke in the picture, so perhaps they are all using those electronic cigarette devices? Are those illegal in no-smoking areas?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Once again the negative people here can't wait to pounce on the opportunity to express their frustration living here. What I see are millions and I mean millions of people daily passing through in and around shibuya station in Tokyo, one of the busiest in the world, and NOT one smoker. Maybe because nobody is standing around, or maybe they are hiding somewher under stairways, but the fact is, less than 1 % of Japanese people are rude.

The sign is clearly no-smoking sign. Maybe you think the rules dont apply to Japanese smokers, is that it? There is no problem complaining about this problem, because it clearly is a problem. Not everyone smokes, some people hate it, people dont want their own health ruined by or don`t want it near their children - maybe other people could add to the list.

The rule is in place and people are blatantly ignoring it. I live in Suginami very close to Takaido station. Close to the station there are signs plastered everywhere that smoking is allowed and anyone caught doing it will be penalised 2000 yen, but that doesnt deter anyone. At any time of the day you will see people walking up and down the street to their hearts content.

You should get off your high horse and realise the Japanese are the same as everyone else in the world, you`ll find just as many rude/ignorant people mixed in. And it is purely subjective to say that 1% of Japanese people are rude.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Heck.... why not... the cops in Japan don't enforce anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ivan CoughanoffalotMAR. 29, 2012 - 04:29PM JST that's why people like you give every post I make the thumbs down, regardless of the content.

Talk about hostility issues and being a tad bit insecure.

Why is what you say always true and while what others say is not?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Readers, please stay on topic. Focus your comments on the topic and not at each other.

This is a great photograph demonstrating everyday irony. The smokers in the photograph, albiet unconciously, are being extremely selfish. Not only do they not seem to care about the people around them, they don't care about the no-smoking sign or the rule it represents. Smoking is one of the most selfish of habits sharing the cancer causing ingredients with unwilling participants around the smoker. The only way for smoking to be truly unselfish is for the person to stay in their own home, close and seal the windows and doors and puff away alone. The most selfish amonst the smoking acts is smoking around children. I can't and never will understand it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I love how a few people not following the sign (which is on the opposite side btw) somehow proves that the entire 127 million people japanese society are rude and don't follow rules. Give me a break.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I agree with CharlieCard, and not just because he's the most recent poster.

Publishing a picture of 3 or 4 random people doing something they shouldn't be at one particular time, proves absolutely nothing about Japan - except perhaps that it's progressing.

Remember that back a few years ago there weren't any / were hardly any no-smoking zones outdoors.

We've come a long way!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I love how a few people not following the sign (which is on the opposite side btw) somehow proves that the entire 127 million people japanese society are rude and don't follow rules. Give me a break.

I love how a photograph of Japanese people ignoring a no smoking sign proves to some people that Japanese people are considerate and well-mannered.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

We've come a long way! And still have a heck of a lot further to go.

I think people are basing their comments on personal experience with smokers here - and the picture. As a whole, smokers in this country don't care about non-smokers and how others feel about their smoking around us. I've got family members that always ask if it is okay or go where there is no one around. They certainly wouldn't be smoking in an area where there is a no smoking sign. Sure, there are probably others in other countries who do the same but this is a picture taken in Japan and being commented by people in Japan. Makes sense that the topic would be the lack of manners these people have.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

If it was indoors... Emergency instructions: There’s a fire!! Spray it with the nearest extinguisher. Don’t forget to remove the safety pin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ivan

I love how a photograph of Japanese people ignoring a no smoking sign proves to some people that Japanese people are considerate and well-mannered.

Many ways to look at the picture, including 1) Signs generally indicate the start of a restricted zone (e.g. speed signs parking restrictions, etc) and since all the people are to the left of the sign and the sign is facing left, you can assume they are not in the restricted area. 2) A slightly weaker argument I admit, but signs only work if you see them. None of these people are looking at the sign! If the whole area was really non smoking as opposed to the sign indicating the start of restricted area, there would be signs everywhere. Once again, they are safe.

I'm very anti-smoking, but the defence is partially due to the inference that a nation is rude and rule breaking.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Can't believe you guys are discussing over a picture that shows 5(?) people smoking in a non-smoking area. Seriously. "Here you have the proof, Japanese people are all RUDE if they're not acting nice" and stuff like this.

Smokers want to smoke sometimes, and so they do it. Otherwise you wouldn't sell cigarettes in the first place. If it's not even in a public building/restaurant/whatever, or at least in a crowded area, who cares? Let them do it. They don't even leave cigarette ends because someone had the great idea to sell pocket ash trays - something that I miss here in Europe.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

cigarette smoking is a very hard habit to quit, because of the chemicals big cig have invested in it.I smoke.I have tried every treatment to quit.I despise it.I will leave a smoking section in a restaurant if someone sits down next to me with a kid.I will smoke where there is an ashtray if there is one.I never litter. I do not smoke in the house or in a car, and neither do I smoke anywhere where it is a covered area.I see myself as an addict enchained by a very addictive (more so than heroin) drug that I find it hard to quit.I think there are many others like me.A bit of support and less hate would go a long way to help us break the chains. All the hate..does that extend to people addicted to painkillers? I understand the issue of second-hand smoke and sympathise with non smokers,But that is like ridiculing some obese people who can never slim down to what the greater society expects. I have had a heart attack.I hope I don't cancer.I hope I can quit.It is very hard to do so in Japan..cigarettes are much too cheap here, and too encouraged.It is a filthy habit that makes you hate yourself with every drag.But please, spare the hate.Unless you smoke you are not at the mercy of the most addictive chemical ever invented.I believe most smokers would quit if they could break the addiction.I have done it all..buproprion, champix,patches, gum and cold turkey (which works best in a country where smoking is largely banned.

JT makes your coffee and your smokes..it is an evil monopoly.Don't hate us because we are addicted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

500yen a pack guys we smoke anywhere we want. u cant have it both ways right?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

and at least make the treatments as affordable as cigs.One week of patches is about 5000 yen. Tobacco companies should be forced to offset the social cost.Do any of you non-smokers understand how soul destroying it is not to be able to quit this habit? and how much money the companies spend trying to keep us addicted? the shoe would be on the other foot if beer companies put similar chemicals in booze.People might gain a little sympathy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I just got back from an izakaya where I was choked with tobacco & let my emotions get the better of me after seeing this pic. But it still peevs me that the govt here owns 51% of Japan Tobacco & thus does nothing to protect the majority here who do not smoke - because they are likely chain-smokers themselves with no interest in looking out for anyone but themselves. So perhaps I should say that I wish those gentlemen running things here would... ahem ... not carry on for much longer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Darren, get the Allen Carr book! Has worked for everyone I know who has read it. Myself included! I was a social smoker and now the thought of it repulses me.

Thank you for your consideration. Sadly, not everyone behaves as you do.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

So perhaps I should say that I wish those gentlemen running things here would... ahem ... not carry on for much longer.

:) Amen to that!

Nothing takes the shine off a good evening more than reeking of tobacco smoke.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tens of thousands of people die each year due to second hand smoke. Smokers have zero rights to kill others. They can keep the cancer themselves. But they are addicts and behave selfishly, with very few exceptions. Just look at the streets in Japan, smokers view the world as their ashtray. They are pigs. They are losers.

Kids in Japan, all of them, have chemical traces of nicotine in their system due to second hand smoke. You smokers are poisoning kids, must make you feel good inside . . .

The only thing to do, the proven method to reduce smoking, is to tax it so that it is so expensive that people are forced to quit. Smokers know they are killing themselves and others, but do not care. They do care if the price of their poison is making them choose between nicotine and food. That is what it takes. Study and study proves this. It is the only way to make them quit and not kill others.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I am an avid NON-smoker... but smokers have their right too,

Which "rights" would those be? The right to foul the air of people standing/sitting nearby? The right to ruin the taste of someone's nearby meal? The right to kiss your significant other with a mouth that tastes like an ashtray? The right to increase the chance that your children will develop early-onset respiratory issues? The right to shell the equivilent of hundreds of dollars out to sustain a drug addiction?

I don't have a copy of the Japanese Constitution in-hand, but I doubt any of those rights are granted in it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Hell ya @ Hellmaster

Quit the nicotine and just go with the THC.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If I cant find a place to smoke ill smoke any where any time I feel like it, but never in front to kids. It irks me to see mothers with children in the smoking section in restaurants. They should be band from smoking areas.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Which "rights" would those be?

How about just one, the right to smoke tobacco. It's not illegal. Available and advertised all over the place, but people don't have the right to smoke outside their homes?

Non-smokers are just about the biggest group of whiners in society. You don't want to be next to someone smoking? Jog on, move it on down the road a bit.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

How about just one, the right to smoke tobacco. It's not illegal. Available and advertised all over the place, but people don't have the right to smoke outside their homes?

You don't have a "right" to smoke tobacco. Just because something is legal doesn't make it a "right". Never has and never will. Ever. Slavery was legal for the longest time yet it has ALWAYS directly violated basic human rights. Do you see the difference now? (Probably not, but hey, at least I tried.)

If "non-smokers are just about the biggest group of whiners in society", then smokers have got to be the most weak-minded group in society. First, either they were too stupid to heed the warnings, or wanted so desperately to fit in with a "cool" crowd that they got addicted in the first place. Second, once the need to "fit in" waned, they were too weak-willed to actually quit shelling out yen/yuan/dollars/euros/rubles to sustain an addiction whose only benefit was to stave off withdrawl symptoms. In a way, I'm a bit envious of the tobacco companies. I wish I could find somebody stupid enough to give ME money on a regular basis with no material benefit in return.

As far as being "advertised all over the place", not here. Other countries still are under the thumb of Big Tobacco and so their laws regarding tobacco are much more lax, but not here.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Farren Brannan... tmarie is bang on with the Allen Carr book. Very effective way to retrain your mind. Don't dismiss it because it is "just a bunch of psycho mumbo jumbo". Get the book and start reading it today. You'll feel so much better knowing you've broken the chain.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Careful who you walk up to. People smoke when they are stressed out sometimes. They deal with a lot of BS on a daily basis. Then society tells them to bottle it up instead of puffing it away.

Ahh! The old, "I smoke because it relaxes me" dodge. Let's try a little reality, shall we? "My body is stressed because my last nicotine fix is wearing off. That's why having a cigarette 'relaxes' my body."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Did they use personal portable ash trays? - unheard of in most other places or did they just litter the place - heard of almost everywhere

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You don't have a "right" to smoke tobacco.

Yes, I do. Do you want to try and tell why I don't have the right to smoke?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If I cant find a place to smoke ill smoke any where any time I feel like it, but never in front to kids. It irks me to see mothers with children in the smoking section in restaurants. Why do you give this courtesy so kids but not adults?

Yes, I do. Do you want to try and tell why I don't have the right to smoke? Because if you look at the picture above, there are rules about where you can and can't smoke. Do you have any idea how selfish you're being? Lock yourself in your room or car and smoke to your heart's desire but please don't poison the rest of us.

-8 ( +4 / -13 )

there are rules about where you can and can't smoke. Do you have any idea how selfish you're being?

Rules are made to be broken. I'm of the mindset that the fewer rules there are in society, the better.

I don't even smoke. I'm just saying people have the right to smoke and if you don't like it, don't stand next to them.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Stranger..."if you don't like it don't stand next to them"

So what you're saying is that non-smokers shouldn't think they can enjoy a break in a non-smoking area because smokers want to smoke in it? And that is reasonable because...?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

**Rules are made to be broken. I'm of the mindset that the fewer rules there are in society, the better.

I don't even smoke. I'm just saying people have the right to smoke and if you don't like it, don't stand next to them.**

Indeed, some are made to be broken. I don't agree this is one of them.

Perhaps they could stand somewhere else - perhaps in a place that doesn't have a large no smoking sign?

And no, smoking isn't a "right". It is a "privilege". Voting is a right. Smoking certainly is not.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Tmarie...once again I regret I have but one thumbs up to give for your post. Absolutely spot on.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

While I think smokers need to control their habit when in public places, equally so why must I suffer the noise and pollution from the thousands of private cars which mostly are only carrying a single person. Cars release far more dangerous pollution including lead which is dangerous for children and my home grown lettuce.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Zichi, I can certainly agree with you on that - but the topic is smoking. And no, cars are not far more dangerous or we'd all have car related illnesses.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

cars release lead, carbon monoxide and account for a very high level of greenhouse gases.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Smoking is a right, Tmarie. Who are you to define what is a privilege and what is a right?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Who are you to define what is a privilege and what is a right?

Actually, the government is the one that defines it that way. It is a legally regulated privilege. You cannot smoke where you are not allowed to smoke. You cannot smoke if you are not of a certain age. You are allowed to smoke where you are legally allowed to smoke. However, you do not have the right to smoke anywhere and anytime you wish to. I also do not believe there is a constitutional right to smoke in Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Smoking is a right, Tmarie. Who are you to define what is a privilege and what is a right?

Can you post a law or rule that states it is a "right"? Do you seriously not know the difference between a "right" and a "privilege"?

Great post Ben. Unreal that you have to explain that.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Oh, look - it's a smoker who believes he has a God-given right to blow the detritus of his addiction over all and sundry. What a fantastic surprise.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

10 thumbs up from me for that!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

@Darren Brannan

Unless you smoke you are not at the mercy of the most addictive chemical ever invented

I hear you and I hope you finally break the chain that is holding you down. However, I disagree with you that non-smokers are not at the mercy of cigarettes. First of all, I do enjoy going out and while I do vote with my money (I only like to go where there are non-smoking restaurants) it's very difficult to find a non-smoking restaurant. I really hate going to Izakayas because of the smoke but sometimes I just don't have the option if I want to go out. It's interesting that there might be one person who is a smoker and because of that the whole group will go to a place that will allow that person to smoke. The feeling is that a non-smoker shouldn't be affected since they of course don't have to smoke. I end up coming home smelling like a cigarette butt even with places that did not have heavy smokers inside.

On a more personal note, I really do hope that you are able to break free of the habit because your habit not only affects you but your family as well. My mother died of cancer at a fairly young age (55) and there is no doubt in anyone's mind that it was caused by her habit of smoking. She was a heavy smoker (about two packs a day) and I had been pleading with her to quit since I was a small child. She never even tried to quit until I was older, but by then she was so hooked that she could never stop for more than a few days. She settled with cutting down and when she was 51 she had a heart attack.

That really shook the whole family and although she survived she was unable to quit even then. She even rationalized that since smoking calmed her down it would be better for her to continue as she didn't want to stress her body. You see, the problem was that WE wanted her to quit and she just said that she would to please us (her children) but the fact was that she never truly wanted to. By the time cancer took a hold of her body and changed her beyond recognition, it was far too late. She died a year later, her body ravaged by both the cancer and the subsequent treatments.

Studies have shown that various methods to help a person quit don't really matter in the long run. The success rate is about the same for many of these methods. The patch, for example, was shown to be no more effective than nicotine gum. The most successful quitters were the people that JUST decided to quit and found a way to do it. The ones that really wanted to stop. If you want to stop, think about why and just make it happen. If your reason is not strong enough or doesn't come from you, then it won't happen. The method is secondary.

Just remember, unless you are a hermit living in the hills with no human contact, your habit does not just affect you, but your whole family and that is why I say that even non-smokers are at it's mercy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's a natural right, not a legal one.

I didn't say I had the right to smoke anywhere and everywhere I wanted. In fact, I stated quite clearly that I am a nonsmoker. The anti-smokers need to wipe the tears from their eyes and read my posts a little more clearly.

The fact that anti-smokers want to regulate smoking outside in the open air, not just inside where second hand smoke is a danger, just shows them for the extremists they are.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Learn the difference between a "right" and a "privilege". And what is a "natural right", anyway? There is nothing natural about smoking and humans knowingly wanting to inject poison into their bodies. Which is exactly why the body reacts to it the way it does - coughing, illness...

Extremists for not wanting to pollute the air they breathe? Please. No one is saying they can't smoke. We're saying don't expect to be allowed to smoke everywhere and anywhere. If there are non-smokers in that open air, nope, Don't smoke. Smoke at home, in your car, in smoking areas... If anything, smokers are more catered to, particularly in this country. ALL of the nice outdoor seating, be it a cafe, a bar... are ALL smoking seats. It means I can't sit outside and enjoy the weather without being choked by the disgusting smell of smoke. A little perspective please. If I asked them not to smoke in these places, they'd howl and the staff would certainly support them - and offer me a seat in the inside non-smoking section. So please don't suggest they have a hard life, particularly in this country. It is the other way around. As a non-smoker, I would expect you to at least understand that. Everyday I am reminded how at lax the smoking laws are here but I come home from most places stinking of smoke.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

What it doesn't say is that this picture was probably a smoking area not long ago.

Those plastic non-smoking signs have a habit of popping up unexpectedly right on the spot where an ashtray used to be.

The non-smoking movement in Japan is very rapid. Whereas other countries have been campaigning for decades to reduce smoking, Japan has given its smokers very little time to adjust. (I know the moderators has said this isn't relevant, but this is a site for foreign readers, and discussing differences between Japan and our home countries is relevant in some cases)

Personally, I feel there's a lot of hypocrisy in the way it's being implemented as well. Outdoor smoking areas often have nice little posters or signs promoting "friendship" between non-smokers and smokers, and "smoking manners" by providing smokers with areas in which they can smoke, and requesting they do so there only, and not when walking around, which is fair enough. The hypocrisy comes with how temporary these smoker friendly areas are. This bait-and-switch method is at best feeble flip-flopping, and ad worst, simple iyagarase.

Funny too how I've been busted for smoking in a non-smoking area before (learned my lesson), and I've seen and heard of other foreigners having the same thing happening to them, but I've also seen many Japanese people approached by the smoking-patrol oyaji who politely provide them with a portable ashtray and ask them to put their cigarette out, then let them on their way.

I'm not actually against reducing smoking areas, but it needs to be done right. Educate, then implement.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Learn the difference between a "right" and a "privilege". And what is a "natural right", anyway?

Sounds like you are the one that needs to do a bit of studying.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So I guess you don't know either since you haven't explained it...

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Japan used to be very, very dirty, smoky anywhere and everywhere but just recently Japanese non smokers are begging to stand up for their rights, in their companies, in their schools, at restaurants etc..we all know that smoking and second hand smoke will cause cancer, and I do agree that it makes me sick when I go to a restaurant here with my family and kids and still ask if i want to sit in the SMOKING SECTION, this should be ILLEGAL because it is very IMMORAL to say the least!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ya'll right smoking is bad, izakaya here i come! :p

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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