School’s out

I must be honest. It’s mostly my wife who takes care of the schoolrun. But every Friday morning I bring my son to school, always with the Bullitt. You know, it’s fast and fun! At least for my son and me. What we see at the school gate is rather astonishing. Endless rows of cars are dropping the youngsters just in time just in front of the school. An absolutely necessity in this tough world we live in! Parents are so afraid of those ‘other’ car drivers they surely have to take their kids to school by car. What they seem to forget is that not only their children will never learn how unmotorized  traffic works, they also force all children to plough those stacked exhaust flumes. As for as I now, not the safest thing for your own kids either. What do want as a society: a school with a bunch of diesel powered cars in front of it or a school easy accessible fy foot and bike? (two schools below are separated by only a few hundred meters)

IMG_1477 IMG_1482

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

A few weeks ago there was an article in the Saturday edition of the newspaper (De Standaard, DS Magazine, Thomas Siffer) that keeps on spinning in my head. The idea was to take literature (in this case ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’ (2014) by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami) as a starting point to get to know a country. Several Japanese things might inspire other countries…

1. You don’t see parked cars on Japanese roads. Of course, were do you get the right to litter private property on public roads? You need a car? Make sure you can stall it.

2. Even on busy roads you sometimes don’t find foot or cycle paths. No problem. When you know how to behave as a driver, you don’t need strict separations for all types of road users.

3. In Europe we are free, but we mistakenly interpreted as in ‘we do what we want as an individual’. We push the pedal to the metal, we drink and drive and smartphones behind the wheel are harmless. The 40 000 yearly (direct) roadkills in Europe we take for granted. Japan has implemented the word ‘respect’ in traffic legislation. Not so stupid as an idea… It makes a lot of things possible!

4. You don’t annoy anybody else with your addiction. When you smoke you do it without bothering anyone. How often have I seen European bus shelters hijacked by one guy/girl with a cigaret, while non-smokers have to chose between harsh winds or the exhausts of one’s bad habits? Or otherwise, why has my personal health has to suffer because of someone else’s relentless car addiction?

Maybe the better title for this post would be: ‘Respect! Stop harming others in the name of your own addictions!’

Japan

 

Canyon

Every time I walk to the local train station it occurs to me how divided my hometown is. Divided like in divided by a canyon. Not an actual canyon created by water like in the Grand Canyon, but as in a symbolical canyon created by motorized mankind in the form of a smoke screen. There should be a sign ‘Getting across only possible at your own risk’. I’m already looking forwards to the end of the road works, at least to end this madness…

IMG_1488