Wednesday, March 14, 2018


What makes an object pleasing or not? So much depends upon perspective.

This is a recent travel guide to Japan, published by one of the world's leaders in travel guides,

about 600 pages long, with, I'm guessing somewhere between 200 and 400 high-quality photographs taken in contemporary Japan. And assuming I didn't miss any, only 6 of those photographs show ground transportation vehicles: 1 picture of a bullet train, 2 of urban street traffic, 1 showing 2 taxicabs parked outside of a department store, 1 of a robot riding a bicycle at a science fair, and 1 of a tractor in a rice field. There is a also a picture of engines being manufactured inside a factory.

This is in a guide to the country which is the home of Honda, Accura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Infiniti, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki, a country which manufactures about 10 million cars, trucks and buses a year, plus who knows how many motorcycles and bicycles, not me, is who. The city of Yokohama gets 6 pages of coverage, but the tires of the same name are not mentioned anywhere in the volume.

Is this a problem? I don't think it is. I doubt that very many people have approached this volume expecting it to contain a lot of info about the Japanese transportation industry. The guide does contain a lot of information about Japanese hotels and restaurants. How well does it describe the best that Japan has to offer in this regard? I have no idea, because I know practically nothing about Japanese hotels and restaurants.

I'm sure some of you are dying to know: no, I did not find any information in this guide about Japanese watches. (This is my Seiko 5.

There are many like it, but this one is mine.) If half or more of the information in a 600-page travel guide to Japan pertained to Japanese watches, you and I might be delighted, but most travelers to Japan would be disappointed and puzzled.

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