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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Talking Escalator


escalatorAnother talking machine in Japan. Another reminder to behave.

Changing stops at Kyobashi--a large station in Osaka where the JR, Keihan, and several city subway lines converge--another mechanical woman kept me from going berserk on the escalator ride up to the platform. The 13-second ride was saved from chaos by a recording.

For those on the escalator a few requests:

Please refrain from smoking while riding the escalator.

Please hold the belt and stand in front of the yellow line on the step.

For those with children, please hold their hand.

This being the 97th such entreaty of the day--it is 9 am--no one listens at all. The message does not penetrate the fog of the morning rush hour; no, it does not even exist. Commuters in Japan are so inured to these announcements that they only become real if they stop. Then a small flicker of anxiety registers: What happened to the announcement? What do we do now?

Listen to the escalator.

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