January 05


The Quasi-Emergency Road


Um, and just what kind of emergencies ARE they saving this road for? A plague of toads? A horde of locusts? Virulent sunspots? Attack from the planet Krypton? An infestation of soccer hooligans? Zombie armageddon? One of those freaking huge rivers of Chinese ducks?

Kanji slackers such as myself see a sign like this and think this so-called emergency road is mysteriously exempt from serving during the one emergency that’s most likely to occur in Japan. But in fact, what the sign says is that in case of emergency like a major earthquake, the road is closed to regular vehicles and only emergency vehicles are allowed to use it.

Good thing a better Japanese reader than I enlightened me on this point!^^;;

Oh, and about that Emergency Road Mascot: Apparently, in these here parts, riding out an earthquake is supposed to feel like sitting on a squirming catfish. Do I feel reassured by its cheerful cross-eyed presence? Hmm. I think not.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more