The Little Crosswalk that Could

After taking Pippi for her monthly check-up at the Kamishakujidobutsubyoin (try saying that three times in quick succession) out in the wilds of Tokyo’s Nerima-ku (its a real shlep but so worth it), we did a little exploring of the neighborhood: a charming, mostly residential community interspersed with agricultural plots. If you read my old blog, The Thing Is, you may remember that I have a real thing for urban agriculture. Imagine my delight and surprise when we discovered rows of artichokes (yes! artichokes!) ready for picking!

But I digress. While wandering, we chanced upon the adorable railroad crossing pictured above. Intended just for pedestrians and cyclists (a metal pole planted in the midway across blocks vehicular passage), it is really cute. It looks like a Brio train set come to life. As you can see, the gate controls passage and drops down, accompanied by a clanging bell, when a train is about to pass. What an idyllic scene.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered this sign near the gate. It is a list of Inochi no Denwa hotlines for those contemplating doing themselves in. Despite this sobering message, the ripe produce and rich, loamy landscape lingered on in our thoughts.

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