A Japanese playground


Did you ever had a closer look at a Japanese playground? What for you might wonder. Let me introduce you to some aspects, you might never had thought of before, giving you some examples of Japanese culture in every day life.
From my viewpoint, I believe in Japan rules, guidelines and regulations are an intrinsic part of every day life. A seemingly endless number of “rules” for the appropriate behavior exist to guide how to behave during the first contact, business meetings, language expression for appropriate respect shown… I could go on and on. A playground is not exempt. At the entrance of a playground you can usually find rules on how to behave (picture above). Going for the first time to the common playground is most likely fun for the child, but includes a lot of pressure for the mom. It seems to me that the expectations for the perfect first day at the playground are comparable with the expectations for the perfect wedding. Guidebooks exist on what behavior works best with the existing regular mothers at the playground, or what to do when other children avoid the mother’s child in play.
Did you expect that playgrounds focus only on children? Not anymore. In Japan with the world’s fastest aging society, the elderly have recognized its potential as meeting point to work out together. More and more playgrounds are set up with special playground equipment designed for the country’s rapidly graying population.
Can you imagine the cost for the usual equipments on a playing ground in Japan? According to the Nippon Television (日テレ, Nittere), the price for a sand box is the most staggering, because it had to be made from scratch resulting in a fee of JPY 1.350.000. A simple playground slide in comparison is then much cheaper with JPY 500.000. Surprisingly these slides are handmade and the last part of the curve makes a huge difference in the speed. I wish I were younger to try it out myself!

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤).

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