The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


On a cold evening a man waits to help people park cars at Tokyo Tower with Roppongi Hills looming in the background.

These parking attendants are one of the many “red stick men” that  pointlessly direct and assist people and traffic to move where it was going anyway all over Japan. A sign that the Japanese take their service duties much more seriously perhaps or the fact that the Japanese populace is unable to think for itself unless told where to go in some Pavlovian dystopia? Or a pointless false job created to hide unemployment?

Bit of all three if you ask me. Whatever the reasons it is a thankless task and I always try to give them a smile and a “Arigato”. Some really do annoy though in the way that they think you really couldn’t walk those three metres of footpath without their help. I guess it is good to take pride in your work though and in the West these types of “help-on-hand-if-you-need-it” jobs have mostly disappeared leaving the people who don’t understand, stranded; or any interaction with the service provider has been replaced by machines that have no flexibility and offer no comfort for the the momentarily confused.





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