All through New Year’s there’s a tremendous amount of emergency vehicles, police officers, officials, public workers and men and women in uniform standing by to keep Tokyo safe. Here’s a few of the random snaps I got in and around Asakusa and Ueno on New Year’s Night. Not the best quality shots but at least bloggable. By the way, isn’t the fire department Kumade (熊手) fantastic? I don’t think I have ever seen one like this! Stay safe in 2013 everyone!
On Sunday I visited the Tokyo Good Design Expo 2012 at Odaiba’s Big Site exhibition center. The expo is devoted to showcasing the best of Japanese industrial design, but there’s also room for a few foreign exhibits. While there for work I managed to snap a few pictures of some of the bigger items, including this wonderful miniature fire truck, a Shoshin Speed Sprayer, 3S-FSC600TL. This fire truck really must be the smallest in the world! While only being 119.5cm tall, it has place for one driver and a whooping 600L of high pressure water to quench fires places that would otherwise be difficult to access.
Continuing with the rescue theme I also saw a fantastic looking water ski, complete with a patient carrying sled, allowing a team of paramedics to perform first aid and resuscitation while at the scene of an accident at sea. I hope all marinas and bigger beaches get these soon! Toyota also had a clever way of displaying their car in two colors, by the use of mirrors and open spaces. I liked it enough to post it here! There were also quite a few architecture exhibitions, the one that I liked the most was for a plan of multi residence timber frame buildings that are quick and easy to set up by even low skilled workers after disasters and in disaster struck areas where many people have been made homeless. Great ideas! Let’s see if I can make it back again for next year’s expo!
I, like many millions of people in Tokyo were at work when the earthquakes hit us. I have no idea how we managed to keep on our feet, I have literally been in subway fires that were less scary than these quakes (I say quakes in plural because latest research tells us that it was in fact a series of unrelated quakes in different areas off the coast of Japan). I was lucky enough to be able to walk home from my office in a mere 1,5 hours. The roads were blocked with cars, and the sidewalks were full of people in good cheer on their way home. During the walk I struck up several conversations with complete strangers and most people seemed happy to engage in banter. A smile helps a lot when you are worried or scared about friends and family.
Here are some photos I took passing Ikebukuro station in north-central Tokyo, of police and emergency vehicles showing just how well prepared we were. The police did a great job helping stranded train passengers and worried members of the public with directions and advice on where to spend the night.
All of these images are offered under a CC (Creative Commons license, you may print, use, alter or publish these images as long as you attribute them to Tokyobling, this blog). Higher resolution images can be request through contacting me at my gmail account or in the account section. My email address is name of the blog @ gmail. Enjoy!
Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to be a paramedic, but I fear I lack the physical strength necessary (in my home country I’m considered small and skinny whereas in Japan I’m considered tall and fit… go figure). Still, I couldn’t resist shooting this ambulance outside Tokyo Ueno Station. I love the side marking saying “We Love Tokyo”. It is very rare indeed to see any sign of healthy local patriotism here in Tokyo (no strong local teams, no rallying public figure, no internationally renown landmarks) so I appreciate the little sticker a lot. I do feel sorry for the paramedic uniforms here though, which in essence is the same as a kindergarten uniform with a hard hat instead of the yellow cap. A rare lapse in Japanese uniform sartorial judgment! This ambulance didn’t rush off so don’t worry – no major emergency this time.