Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blogging from Japan: Lessons in Urban Living

We've been in Tokyo and then Kyoto this past week while my huband attends some conferences, and it's been an incredible experience overall. From the start, we've had a series of lessons in how people can live together in intensely crowded situations without killing each other. Californians could stand to take a look at some of their approaches.

The first thing that I noticed was that everything is smaller. Even though the Japanese, like the earthquake-wary Californians, tend to extend their cities horizontally rather than vertically, the lack of land has led to tiny buildings that are packed together. Cars are smaller and get better mileage (gas is expensive), there are lots of hybrids, and people park in amazingly tiny spaces. (I don't know if the Japanese don't have fender benders or just get their cars fixed instantly, but I have yet to see anyone with a dent yet.)

Which leads me to something I spotted from the airport train: stacks of cars. It was a tiny lot in front of an apartment building, and the denizens had their cars precariously (to me at least) stacked 4 at a time on lifts. I realized instantly that it meant that the first one home has to be the last one to leave in the morning. Could we possibly live that way without shooting each other?

Here's a photo of a Tokyo car lift.
tokyo car lift photo
carlift photo in original context
Here's a company that's been designing car lifts in the US:
harding steel

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