Posts Tagged ‘subway’

The Kyoto Transportation Bureau is casting a wide net with their efforts to increase the usage of the subway. According to their website, the Transportation Bureau is trying to increase the number of city subway passengers to 50,000 people.(1) For example, by producing pocket-sized city bus and subway time schedules, which you can download here (pdfs are at the bottom of the page) and pocket walking maps of the city, the Bureau can help students and people intimidated by the transit system by giving them a convenient guide to getting around.

I covered another campaign in my last post: stairway calorie-counter setsuden ads in the Kyoto subway, which, along with the maps and guides, are brought to you by the Kyoto City “Team to Increase the Number of Young Professional Customers” (若手職員増客チーム) Moé Moé Challenge Section (燃え燃えチャレンジ班).

The Moé Moé Challenge Section’s job is “to create public advertisements to get people fired up about the subway.”(2) As I dug deeper in researching this article, I discovered the calorie counter I had discussed in my last post is also the product of the Moé Moé Challenge Section. In a 18 May proposal, the section writes,

In response to the perceived notion that “the subway platforms are far away” and “it takes too much time,” we will attempt to improve the image of using the stairs as something you can do for your health. In encouraging people to use the stairs, we will attempt to  lessen the congestion on the elevators and escalators as well as promoting a more eco-friendly subway.(3)

If burning calories isn’t inspiring you to be more eco-friendly, the Section has also created an “original character” who adorns a poster at the bottom of the stairs.


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The buzzword in Japan this summer is 節電 (setsuden), or conserving electricity.* For my readers back at home, this is chiefly because, as Alice Gordenker so succinctly put it in her “So What the Heck is That?” column in The Japan Times,

a huge earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan on March 11, knocking out roughly a quarter of the electricity-generating capacity for the power companies that serve 53 million people in Tokyo, the Kanto plain and Tohoku. In the wake of the disaster there’s been a massive effort to reduce demand for electricity to levels that can be met. The alternative is scheduled rolling blackouts, or worse, sudden widespread blackouts from which it’s difficult to restore power. (“Setsuden,” 17 March 2011.)

I am fortunate to live in a relatively cooler part of the country and far from the affected zone, but while our energy consumption might not directly affect how much energy is getting out to Tokyo and the East, we are also being encouraged to setsuden. There’s been talk of deactivating some of our nuclear power plants, but there’s also a collective feeling that we should seriously reevaluate our energy consumption in general.

It’s hard to discuss setsuden without mentioning the  spirit of 我慢 (gaman), a term which means patience, perservance, and endurance and often has an undertone of sacrifice; colloquially, the phrase can mean “deal with it” or “buck up.”  (more…)

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