Jul 31, 2018
I spotted some of these tree bumpers in a small parking lot in the downtown area of my city. I'm not sure what the parking lot is for. There are some small tree branches hanging over into the paved area and I guess some of them are a little low (the trees are young or just small). When cars park in those spots, they could bump into the branches.
This reminded me of the foam protectors we can sometimes see in the homes of families with small children. They might hit their soft heads on the corner of the counter, so it's insulated with some kind of a cushion to prevent too much damage.
I thought this was quite thoughtful to protect the trees from being bumped into by cars. After all, Japan has a culture to care for all things - inanimate, living, or not.
Then I realized: the cars will still bump the trees from time to time. This is why someone tied on some rubber bumpers. Yellow to signal caution as well. But the bumpers aren't there to protect the trees after all. The bumpers are there to protect the trees from scratching up any cars.
I guess my way of thinking is leaning towards protecting the living thing rather than protecting the inanimate object from being damaged. I do ride a bike and often get frustrated by 'cars,' or I guess their drivers.
I often feel like 'cars' are trying to kill me on my commute to work. I live in a sort of suburban city that has a lot of cars for what I imagined Japan to be like. What really bothers me is when I see drivers on their phones (just about every day) and they almost hit me or someone else. I've taken to ringing my little bike bell at cars when their drivers are doing something illegal or stupid.
Tonight I really almost got hit. I was riding in a (rare) bike lane and thought the car coming out of a parking lot would stop at the stop sign (or before the sidewalk, or before the bike lane) but didn't stop until I was in front of his car. I had to swerve out of his way and luckily there was no car on the road I swerved into. The driver even opened the door and said, "summimasen." I was just pissed off and got back on my way. When I'm wearing white and have my light on, I'm surprised how often cars still can't see me. Sometimes I feel like I should really use a helmet - or even get a bunch of these yellow foam bumpers to make an obnoxious costume and protect myself. Think that would work?