Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A thud into Tokyo mode, for a moment.

We were quite numb after riding through the coast. Rain started falling in Kamaishi, we stopped to put on our rain gear, and took the fastest route to the expressway.  At 4pm we still had 500 km to cover to home.  We stopped for some warming noodles at Tono  - on the road there we passed convoys of jietai (JSDF) headed for the coast.    
A sign on the wall outside the disabled toilet at a service centre on the Tohoku do soon helped bring me back to Tokyo mode....Usually I get irritated with people criticising bad English on signs here, because doing so lacks any appreciation  that  there was some thoughtfulness  behind writing it in the first place.  In this case though, I didn't understand the meaning at all till I looked at the Japanese...And I wondered... 'why did you even bother....'

Had it been run through a human rather than a machine with no sense of context, the English would read something like:  If this lamp is red, or if you hear the emergency buzzer,  please alert a member of staff.

And then I thought some more, and really in the scheme of things, it's not very important at all, because the chances of an English speaker being the only person outside the toilet at this service centre are far  less than the chances of a tsunami in Tokyo...


tvrossel said...

You are amazing. I am so impressed that you sat on the back of a bike for 1700km. Well done! Your blog and photos are great. Thanks for sharing .. even though I should have gone to bed ages ago and now I will be tired tomorrow ;-)

Cecilia said...

Given that we don't have a helicopter, the bike is the next best option!
I have totally procrastinated the day and spent it writing up the trip... fortunately I can link some of it in to study.
Hope you are all fine. Will try & call you tomorrow.