Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bridge to somewhere (i.e., 3 or 4 meters across)

I've been meaning to comment on this for a while. About 2 blocks down from our building (between us and the train station), there's this huge, completely inexplicable pedestrian bridge:

This is literally the only pedestrian bridge I've seen anywhere in the entire city of Kanazawa. Andrea claims to have seen one other one, but I chalk it up to heat-induced hallucinations. In some of the busier areas of town, you can find underground walkways, but no real bridges like this.

This one is no mirage, though; it exists, and it exists for no purpose other than to save you a few negligible seconds in walking 100 feet in either direction to a crosswalk. Still, I guess it's not completely useless; it takes a good two minutes for the lights to change, which doesn't seem like much, but I'm used to the wait being much shorter, especially on what seems like a moderately busy 4-lane street.Maybe you could save yourself time, if you just missed a crosswalk light and ran the whole way.

Another curiosity:

On the bridge end near our side of the street are these characters, which read "Horikawa-machi" or "Canal Town", the name of our specific neighborhood. On the opposite end, it reads "Konohana-machi", which is the name of the adjacent neighborhood; our street, as you might've guessed, is the dividing line.

It might seem strange (especially if you're familiar with San Francisco and the ridiculous arguments over neighborhood boundaries) to have such clearly delineated neighborhoods, but they serve a purpose: neighborhood names basically replace street names in Japanese city addresses, and each block and building are assigned a specific number.

This system is the other side of the coin from my earlier post about the convenience of package delivery: addresses are near-useless strings of building names and numbers that only give you a vague idea of where something generally is. If you ever come here, take our advice, which we learned the hard way: draw a map or get very specific directions about where you want to go. You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration!


  1. That building number system within a district does seem orderly though just not our order. Sort of like a base 8, instead of base 10.

    Bill and I are truly enjoying reading your entries about Japan. Please keep the posts coming.


  2. Are you using your compass? Love Mom