Bunny Signs are the New Cute Traffic Cones in Japan
Tough and Cool take a Back Seat to Cute in Japan
Sometimes I wonder how Japanese life stays so placid. Placid in a good sense, like the surface of a deep ocean on a calm day. There is a lot going on underneath but the surface is flat, peaceful and non-threatening. In Japanese we call it "Joushiki" which to me is best translated as "civility" or "normalcy". I remember watching "Little House on the Prairie" when I was young and thinking what an awesome concept of a clear routine of chores, school, meals, "Pa" "Ma" and bedtime stories. There is something in us that wants the type of calm and assuredness that comes with routine and predictability. Another word for this in Japanese is "Heibon" or "usual" "commonplace" "predictable"...all in a good and comforting sense.
Yes, I'm an entrepreneur and yes I like change
As Peter Drucker states "If your company is not changing, your company is dead". I fully agree and I try to live that way in my personal life as well...to embrace change, challenge new opportunities and not hesitate when there is a lesson to be learned or a new road to explore. But....there is a kind of Zen balance in Japan between the necessity of motion and busy-ness and the longing for a kinder, quieter and slower lifestyle. My Japanese friends cling to the simplicities you find in every day life. The image of a bicycle parked in front of a lantern festooned "Heibon Shokudo" or "Everyday Cafeteria" or the sight of newly bloomed Cosmos flowers in a green field.
There is nothing unusual and yet something totally unique about my finding Bunny construction barriers in front of the Yaesu exit of Tokyo station the other night. Taking the time and extra expense to produce something quietly cute, something to cheer you up and make you notice (thus helping you stay out of danger) is so sweet and in my experience, so Japanese. We need to remember to add a bit of sweet and cute to every aspect of our life when we can. That moment of predictability or something that is a bit unnecessarily childlike can bring a breath of refreshment to your travel through magical Japan.
Former Deep Japan Writer