The other day, I waited for an elevator at the Yokohama Subway Station. It was 6 pm and hot and humid. The elevator was slow as usual, and I was sweaty and tired from a long trip. I watched the elevator coming up. One of many pasted signs on a clear panel shows “This Elevator, Anyone Can Use It.” I mumbled in my head, “Why can anyone think up such obvious message?” I was irritated. I couldn’t help imagining a scene that once, a person in charge called for a meeting just so that they would be busy making signs and forgot about validity of the message.
I wish all the weak and idiosyncratic signs would disappear from Japan. What do foreigners think of us if they can read Japanese? I complain, but keep coming back to Japan. Why?
I was asking myself the above questions when I passed through a street along an elementary school and saw a sign: “Two in deepest love are also in deepest pain.” I looked around. Nobody. I wondered why anybody decided to put up such sign and at that location. What purpose? After all, one side of the street is the elementary school where I graduated. The other side is residential. But whoever put it up there for whatever reasons, I like the contrast in the words, and the message made sense to me. It also answered my questions.