A lesson in Japanese roadsigns


At first glance, this looks like “road closed”, doesn’t it?
But look at the beautiful winding mountain road on the other side, and the perfect weather. It couldn’t possibly be mere accident that there’s just enough space between the barricades to ride a motorcycle through, could it?

Same road, a few kilometers on:

This looks even more convincingly like “road closed.” In fact, to the uninititated, the Japanese “通行止” would seem to mean exactly that.
But no, “通行止” really means “closed to those in vehicles with more than the optimal number of wheels(2), and to those without adventure in their hearts.”

We only had to move three of these roadblocks. It was great riding, though a little harrowing to be leading the pack on this particular run. Not to worry, we are responsible citizens–we moved the barricades back into place after riding through.

13 thoughts on “A lesson in Japanese roadsigns”

  1. Were you at all concerned that the road might have been closed due to a rockslide, or construction crews, or a hole in the ground, or some other obstacle?

    Not criticizing (as someone who ducks ski ropes on a regular basis), just wondering how you sized up the risks. 

  2. Yeah, we decided that since it was just construction we could probably make it through whatever the problem was. It turned out that there was one stretch of road that a full-sized car couldn’t have made it through. Advantage bikeosphere! or something. 

  3. That’s a common mistake, James, especially since they often reuse the same signs after a major rampage, but it’s not Godzilla season yet.

    By the way, thanks for the link. I don’t think I’ve ever been aggregated before. (That sounds either like I’ve been sexually violated or like I should be saying “resistance is futile” or something.) Nice site you’ve got there.  

  4. Go,
    Thanks for linking me, too。
    Should I change the link to “touring and gardening blog”?

    I thought yesterday’s post about bikes was interesting.
    これからもヨロシク! 

  5. Hahaha!
    Gardening is not my work, I just am camera-man [is this crrect English?], photographer.
    By the way, it is just an idea, Kazu and I are going to ride to NUMAZU or somewhere to eat fresh SUSHI next weekend.
    Do you wanna ride with us? 

  6. Go,
    I’d love to go, but I have to row in the Tokyo Dragon Boat races on Sunday morning, so I’d better pass. 

Leave a Reply