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Crossing a Busy Street in Osaka Japan

by Bob Kerstetter

You stand on a sidewalk. The temperature lurks near 10°. You remember Japan uses metric measurements so, your meteorological reading hangs around 50°, damp and windy.

You need to cross the street to the camera store.

Looking Across Busy Street to Camera Store in Osaka Japan

Looking Across Busy Street to Camera Store

The expressway floats overhead. It does nothing to break the wind.

The distances to the intersections in either direction? Nah! Too far!

So, what next?

J-Walk!

No!

The traffic moves way too fast. The median wall looks too tough to leap. No one j-walks here anyway.

Besides you visit today as a guest in Osaka. Leave your illegal crossing for America.

Steps to an Under Street Passageway in Osaka Japan

Steps to an Under Street Passageway in Osaka Japan

You look for a tunnel. While you know of no statistics you suspect 30% of Osaka residents walk below street level at any moment in time.

Lots of underground passageways can keep you free from the weather. You estimate the descent at nine or so meters.

Under Street Tunnel and Door in Osaka Japan

Under Street Tunnel and Door

You round the corner and continue down another five meters.

You open the door…

Underground Shopping Mall in Osaka Japan

Underground Shopping Mall in Osaka Japan

You enter an underground shopping mall—comfortable and clean.

No one j-walks on the busy streets.

No one appears to litter in the sub-street passageway filled with stores.

Floor Fountains in Underground Mall in Osaka Japan

Floor Fountains in Underground Mall

Your intuition says walk left, so you do.

You pass floor fountains. The water runs slowly.

The weather outside is cold.

Escalator Heading Up on the Left in Osaka Japan Underground Mall

Escalator Heading Up on the Left from Underground Mall

Looking for steps, you find an escalator. Japan drives and escalates on the left. You go up.

Street Level Entrance to Photo Store in Osaka Japan

Street Level Entrance to Photo Store

You arrive at another doorway for the camera store—partly intuition, mostly luck.

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