Quirky Japan: Children at Play Signs


(photo – A sign at a nearby park cautions drivers that children are near)

This is another in my continuing series of “quirky Japan” which covers the little things about life in Japan that makes it distinct.

My brother and I used to joke about the “Slow Children at Play” (see below) that why are government authorities criticizing the speed of kids in a particular park. Did they take 40-yard dash times like in the NFL and deem them slow? I don’t think we consciously realized that they were meant as a warning for drivers to slow down because there is a high probability of children crossing streets or riding their bicycles in the vicinity. As a parent I am now very aware of the purpose of the signs.



Japan takes these signs to a new level as you can see in the lead photo of this post. Mascots and cartoon figures are very popular here so it makes sense that they could be used instead of the traditional sign in the USA. I think it is much more effective that a street sign because it is so different. There are many different styles of these signs depending on the municipality or school. Below are warning signs at a pedestrian path in my neighborhood.


The other aspect I want to feature is the ubiquitousness of vending machines. They are everywhere! There must be thousands of beverage vending machines in the Osaka metropolitan area. I will pay more attention to them and later do a more in depth blog post. I am curious about the economics behind them. How much money do they make? How often do they need to be re-stocked? Do they malfunction often?

My children cannot pass one with out asking me for change. They feature both hot and cold drinks and there seems to be a vast number of different drinks to choose from ranging from teas and coffees, to water, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc. The machine below is on a corner across from the park in our neighborhood. On the other side are rice paddies. They can’t have that many people patronizing the machine. Where does it get electricity from? So many questions…