Tokyo, Japan’s capital with good mixed of the old and the new—from the traditional and heritage culture in tea, pottery, hot springs, cherry trees, temple to trend-settingly icons in Pokemon, Maneki-neko, Doraemon, Gudetama, Godzilla, to creators of Nano blocks, sashimi, ramen, udon and green tea.
Upon reaching the Narita Airport, I was first greeted with “Time for Taiwan” campaign ads designed by Winkreative, the London agency who is also the team behind Monocle. And it makes me wonder on the standpoint of Japan between Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, China or Singapore. Clean streets and punctual transport was what I was greeted next.
The print advertisements, promotional items are very visual focal and often in striking colours as opposed to the buildings. The buildings here in Tokyo are monotone. Either concrete, bricks or tile of muted colour palette. Murky green, pastel pink or grey. While the visuals in the logo signages or the billboards light-up the place instead. It’s hard to find advertisements around here. They are mostly in cabins, train stations and not on bus stops, unlike Singapore or Hong Kong.
How can good visuals play a part in tourism as well as everyday living?
No spotting of any ad placements on their bus stops and walkway to the metros.
Warning signs have been made beyond fines and made beyond just the usual no smoking, no eating and drinking icons while colours of road signs, metro signs and way-finding are in green. And you will see a lot of corporate identity donning red or green.
The signages aren’t boring to look at.
A decade ago while I was a student tour guide showing Japanese students around in Singapore, there was an incident that I still remember vividly—they clean their own spills, return their own trays. Claps. In Tokyo, it’s hard to find any bins here though and the trash here are required to be sorted out between burnable and non-burnable items. Maybe this way the people understand and believes they are part of building and upkeep a nation’s building and cleanliness. Will this uphold the belonging that our Singapore government has always been looking for?
Earthquake or disaster drills were drilled since young. Kids even built their own, played their own playground. Resilience and independence are being nurtured. A culture so strict that there seems to have a self inflicted stress for no failure. A highest rate for suicides with causes be it exams or employment.
Master-Apprentice relationship still exists. Professionalism and forced workaholic. You would be surprised to find out that their trains run later on weekdays than on weekends. People really work that late during weekdays even they have no more pending task for the day. Maybe this is why people can spend and really spend on weekends as lifestyle expenses have been saved up on not spending on weekdays. Read the rest of this entry »