One of the first things that really frustrated me here was how slow people walk. Around that time, there was even a “Rant and Rave” in Metropolis magazine (“Tokyo Classified” back then) about how the pace defies all laws of physics. For a bustling city like Tokyo, you would expect its citizens to be more active and in a hurry to get to their destination. Instead, you see salarymen, students and other professinals competing for the slowest walk. If only there was a minimum speed limit for pedestrians.
The lag is even more apparent now that I spend most of my commuting time on wheels. I ride on the road whenever I can, but sometimes am forced onto the sidewalk where the trouble starts. Part of the problem is how unaware of their surroundings the crawlers are. Approachers are the worst since they just refuse to look more than an inch ahead or as Dan would put it, are too busy receiving visual signals on their embedded v-chips. This morning, I almost managed to ram two people coming side by side in a very narrow part of the sidewalk, but slipped through somehow. Maybe next time.
Others, you just ride behind until they notice your ringing and gear clicking and jump out of the way in a panic. On the bright side, at least now I’ve learnt to ride through the Shibuya crowds at more than 30km/h and slow down to less than 1km/h and even stand still for a few seconds when I have to.