It is hard to get your attention in Japan. There are bright lights everywhere. In the countryside, pachinko parlors are lit up like the fireworks shops in Tennessee I saw as a child driving “straight through” from Indiana to Florida. In the cities, restaurants will have old-fashioned blue, amber, or red lights like those on top of a police car or fire truck. What are those lights called anyway?
Recently, the city of Nagoya decided to move bicycle traffic off of the sidewalk in front of my house to the road. A lane was removed from the road, and a temporary bike lane has been set up. This change was before my unfortunate tangle with a bike, so I didn’t cause this change. Because the routing is new, there is a traffic monitor at every corner of the bike lane whenever it intersects with anything. Since a lane ends in the street, special notice is given as well. Because it is dangerous to put a real flagman in the road, a special mechanical flagman is used. The mechanical flagman usually stands in front of a truck and the truck also has many things to catch your attention as well. All this to prevent you from, apparently, missing the point and plowing into the flagman, the truck, and the bicycle lane up the road.
In this picture you can see the mechanical flagman standing in front of two barrels behind two cones with a couple of arrows. He’s in front of a double men working sign, a go slowly sign, and a truck. The truck has red lights on top that flash in a rotational pattern and amber lights on the side that flash on and off. Next to the flagman is a light disk with round lights that flash on and off in a circular pattern – at least the inner ring. I’m not sure what the outer ring does. Of course, there is also an animated flagman on the truck just to make sure. It is even more dramatic at night.
I think I’d be so mesmerized by all the action that I would end up driving straight into it.