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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.

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

2 thoughts on “The Quasi-Emergency Road Leave a comment

  1. actually it’s because of an old saying: a thrashing catfish is said to cause earthquakes. And this saying is not restricted to a certain area

    • Thanks for cluing me in on the catfish theory! I belatedly went off and did a search on this after you prompted me to get my story straight, and indeed, for centuries, a giant fish named Namazu has been getting blamed every time the earth shakes in these here parts. They even cancelled an episode of Pokemon featuring a scary catfish-like creature when it was scheduled to air too soon after a major quake!

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