|"Ome Kaido & The
It all started with an e-mail from a member of a computer user group I belong to - he stated that he was moving and had some old computer parts he would be happy to give to someone, as well as a washer and dryer to sell for cheap. When I expressed interest in the washing machine, he asked me how I would move it. "I would have to rent a truck" I replied. This man is organized and quick, and he offered to give me the machine for free if I would help him out a little with moving a few of the larger things from his old apartment to the new one with the truck, before I hauled the washing machine over to my apartment.
And that's exactly what happened. I rented a pickup truck early in the morning on a Friday, and then promptly got lost - driving down a main street in the far left lane trying to look at the map. I decided I should turn left... and just after that noticed "Buses Only - 7:00 - 9:00 a.m." painted in the lane I was in.... Oops... but the lane was full next to me and I wanted to turn left.... The next street looked too narrow to turn down... and so did the next... and then I came upon a team of about ten policemen waving at me to stop. Oops.... I explained the situation to some doubtful looks, but - perhaps because the facts matched my story - my driver's license indicated I lived in a different part of town, I was driving a rent-a-truck, and I had a nearby address that I was looking for - obviously not trying to cheat by speeding around other cars, etc. So, I got off with a verbal warning. (Thank you officers! I do appreciate your understanding the situation!") After several more apologies, I was on my way, and after making a few more wrong turns, finally I arrived at the man's apartment.
The first photo above is a typical view from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on Ome-kaido. The the second and third photos were taken in Nakano not far from the rent-a-car place. It's interesting to look at the action on the sidewalk from a car stopped in traffic - you're right next to the people on the sidewalk, but sealed off in your box of steel, aluminum & glass, so it's almost like becoming invisible. The fourth photo is of the truck I piloted that Friday from early morning until evening.
The first two (of the above six) are from the Ome-kaido and the others near Nakano Station, with the sixth photo being (obviously) of the driver's seat. The truck worked out fine, but had a weird LDNRP order to the shift indicator on the dash, instead of the usual PRNDL. A word to a certain automaker - you endanger the lives of both locals and foreigners alike by doing non-standard stuff like that. People move around in this world, and they drive motor vehicles in different countries, something so simple and basic as the indicators for the gears should be the same worldwide. Mucking around with things like that can get people hurt.
Now for a good design element of the truck. It's a regular pickup truck on the left, and then you can drop not only the tailgate, but either or both sides as well - notice one side still up in the middle picture and all sides down in the third, making the truck a full flatbed. Very cool! In the day's moving, we never used it as a full flatbed, but we did use it as in the middle photo - and if that side had not swung down, moving the man's sofa would have required an extra trip. (Fortunately, we only had to drive a few blocks to his new apartment - I'm not sure what the laws are regarding driving trucks like this with the sides down. It may be that it's illegal and they are only meant to drop down to facilitate loading and unloading.)
A friend in Arizona recently commented on the photos in "Out & About-2", how he is generally in his car listening to the radio and waiting at stoplights when not driving - alone the whole time. He said how it would be nice to meet people when going about, as is shown in the "Out & About-2" photos. After spending a day with that white truck, I would have to agree. Being alone in a car is nice when you're relaxed, listening to the radio, and when you have something that you want to think about, but it is a lonely deal, and scenes like the three above taken in Shibuya have a completely different feel to them. You can be lonely in a crown, but usually it's an exciting feeling, which a car tends to cut you off from.
Copyright 2005 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo