Monday, May 26, 2008
The Dark Shadow Behind a Happy Story
This is quite a quaint little story about how a cat has saved the day for a local railway company in rural Japan. Behind this little story however is a dark picture of decades of pork-barrel roads spending and urban sprawl that has drawn people away from the trains and into cars. Stuck between this ruddy great four-lane rock and the hard place that is a rapidly ageing society, railways across Japan are in decline. Once bankrupt, these lines cease operation, further entrenching automobile dependance. Transport is an interesting thing - people will generally use the most convenient mode which is made available to them. If sqadzillions of yen are spent on roads and highways each year, then it is no wonder that more people drive. Oh yea, I forgot - they don't. People are driving less and less in Japan. And still quantrillions are spent on new roads and highways! I just don't get it. Well, actually I do. It is apathy. The one saving grace for Japan is that the country really just isn't made for cars, and most people these days realize that - so no matter how much they spend trying to get us to foresake our trains/bicycles/walking shoes for cars, we still drive less!
at 6:55 AM