Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hanami, shinjuku and translations

I was in Shinjuku gyoen yesterday.  It has always been an alcohol free zone, but this year it's being enforced rigorously with bag searches....There has been complaint about it the Japanese media as they usually turn a blind eye to it.   The English and Japanese alchohol restriction signs at the park didn't exactly match.  It reminded me of Dad's story of being in a German youth hostel in the 1960s where a translated sign in English stated "Guests must get up before 8", the German original was "Guests must not get up before 5"....

Bag searches underway.

The bottom line in Japanese reads that  alcohol is available at the restaurants
in the garden. It's not translated.
"Beer, sake, spirirs .... and more.... " are prohibited in English.
It seems like Japanese don't need to have it spelled out what alcohol actually is...
Somehow it seems improbable that a foreigner would stand there
arguing that the sign doesn't say "Bundy" so it must be OK...

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Rurousha said...

So it wasn't my imagination: they're really strict this year! When I went there much earlier in the season, they had guards, but not as many signs.

Why would they forbid alcohol but then sell it in their own restaurants? Hmmm. I assume you're not allowed to take it out of the restaurants?

PS: Bundy? :D The South African equivalent is Klippies. It has the colour of tea. I could pour my poison into a soft drink bottle if I were really determined. The guards didn't open&sniff, did they?

PPS: I left a comment for you at the Arakawa roses post.

Cecilia said...

Bundy... you're missing nothing.

I don't know why the alcohol contradiction - Japan tends away from from alcohol wowserism usually and it seems rather uncharacteristic.

A friend was actually stopped by police & breathalized while driving the other day. I had no idea random breath testing existed in Japan. Perhaps just hanami season?

I wondered about smuggling alcohol in... Once upon a time I might have been bothered to try! I wondered about whether they checked to see if bottles had been open. I did see / smell some alcohol in there - so it may have been for appearance more than function( could believe such a thing would happen ;) ).

If you were really determined you could get it passed through the fence anyway!

Rurousha said...

That breathalizer test - was it recently? Didn't we have a traffic safety week a while ago? You know: when the cops stand on the crossing and start whistling when the light turns red/green/blue.

It's too much bother smuggling in alcohol. I can use my antihistamine medication to get the same effect! :D

PS: "Appearance rather than function" made me give an evil grin.

Cecilia said...

the breathalizing was recently, somewhere in Kita ku /Bunkyo Ku /Arakawa ku area. I had no idea it was done here. I don't think it had anything to with the kousaten anzen (intersection safety) campaign.
Every April and September when school goes back they have big signs and traffic monitors. April is to train the first graders to cross properly, Sept is to remind everyone in case they forgot over the summer...
If I maintain my lowly rank on the occupational, social hierarchy I guess I could join the crossing guards in living out latent fantasies of control - the power of petty bureaucrats etc etc.

I hope your need for antihistamines is declining.