May 14, 2003

the art of car parking

Having gates is a tradition in Japan and I find some very beautiful. But the modern versions sometimes just seem like petty markings of "this is my space - do not touch!"

These are various gates I've found in my neighborhood. The first one I thought was going to be a commercial store, but it turned out to be someone's loving showcase of their cars. The second one is kind of anal, in my opinion - the car doesn't fit, but the owner still wants to pull down the shutter AND place a board to fill in the side space. It's hard to see, but there is actually a net carefully placed over the sticking out absolutely no one or nothing can even get a paw in. The third, well, I dunno. The string marks the territory, but it's done in such a half-hearted way...barely staying up if it weren't for the water jug weighing down the make-shift pole. The wooden fence is also a mystery to me.

The fifth example is what I would consider great use of space. It's hard to see, but they've got a car, a canoe, 2 bicycles, and a small storage unit in the back. Must be a pain to actually get the car out though. And all this 'gating' is actually more symbolic than anything. The last pic. is a case in point - a gate and another gate...and if the bike weren't there, you could just walk right through.

What does all this 'gate' business say about sense of space and ownership?

Posted by Mie at May 14, 2003 10:03 AM | TrackBack

gates are a tangible way of delineating boundaries.
inside and outside. mine and yours. ours and theirs.
family and non-family. company and non-company. japanese and non-japanese.
sometimes physical, most of the time more social.
however, i wouldnt see these as gates at all. seeing them as gates is a very western idea.
they are actually, in a functional sense, acting more like walls. this is very japanese.
gates are there for the purpose of letting something or someone in and out. however, walls are non-porous.
thus, sometimes westerners feel shut out.

Posted by: niji at May 14, 2003 10:41 AM

"The first one I thought was going to be a commercial store, but it turned out to be someone's loving showcase of their cars"

I walk past this one everyday. Hmmmm....... I'm starting to wonder how close you are actually living to me.

may just bump into you one morning on the way to work!

Posted by: Eddie at May 14, 2003 10:57 AM

Hey Eddie,

Interesting point. I guess they are kind of like wall, huh? Or gates used as walls.

I thought about that one time. I got off at NishiKoyama and a 'gaijin' stared at me. I wondered if he recognized me from TT or something...thinking maybe he was you? I had no way of recognizing him though.

I still plan to email you when I'm gonna hang in my hood one night, OK?

: )

Posted by: Mie at May 14, 2003 06:17 PM

Hmmmmmm........, personally I wouldn't build a garage like that! Damn hassle!

I doubt the "gaijin" that was staring at you was me. Although I am British, I am not white. I am actually a BBC (British Born Chinese). My parents were from Hong Kong somewhat 40yrs ago. Kinda feel ashamed cuz I 'ONLY' speak English (;^_^). So, I don't think you'll be able to tell the difference between me and the many Japanese people around here (^_^)

Yeah, do lemme know when you're gonna chill in your hood!

Send me an email and I'll return my keitai mail address to you (I guess keitai mail is better since it may be a sudden urge to go to your hood as oppossed to being planned days in ahead, right??)

Posted by: Eddie at May 14, 2003 10:27 PM

Eddie, do you know a place called Ohio in Musashi Koyama? I haven't been there but wanna check it out soon.

Posted by: Mie at May 16, 2003 05:48 PM

Nope! Never heard of it nor see it (tho I always go there to shop)


By the way, I see cats near my place that looks like your cats! Are you by any chance living near the ward-gym?

Posted by: Eddie at May 16, 2003 07:04 PM
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