Parks in Tokyo are full of life on the weekends. Families with children, young couples, and the elderly all enjoy the quiet green splendor. Consider Rinshinomori Park 林試の森公園…even the tortoise is happy to be out and about:
Or the autumnal bliss of Ikuta Ryokuchi Park 生田緑地 in suburban Kawasaki (near Mukogaokayuen Station 向ヶ丘遊園駅, just 22 minutes from Shinjuku via the Odakyu Line). These scenes are from the top of the park, home to an observation platform, and former site of Mount Masugata Castle 枡形城址.
(See also the nearby Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum)
Threatening these tranquil scenes is the constant threat of chaos and unrest. Which is why parks in Japan have signs prohibiting unsavory behaviors, including:
1. No loud noise. Generally depicted by a child lighting firecrackers; also by a woman or man in bed, trying to sleep. Here are a few examples (see prior post).
2. Do not remove the trees or flowers. 「木や花を取らないで大切にしましょう」
In the following examples, I wonder what artistic and practical considerations led to the varying number of tears. In three practically identical signs, the tree sheds either zero, one, or three tears. And, for consistency, the flower seems to be experiencing analogous levels of despair, judging from its body language.
3. No fires / no smoking.
There’s that tree again! This time he or she has reason to cry. Or is it sweat?
4. No dangerous play 「危険 な 遊びはやめましょう」
In my favorite series, a boy hits a baseball directly into another child’s head. In the updated, less violent version, the victim is now a girl, and the baseball sails over her head. Incidentally, in both signs, the “victim” is lighting fireworks, so he/she deserves to get hit by the baseball, right?
However, in the following examples, the person getting hit (or nearly hit) is a blameless bystander. And, reflecting the increasing popularity of the sport, a soccer ball replaces a baseball in some of the newer signs.
5. No skateboarding or rollerblading
These are generally disappointingly boring signs, but the first one is pretty good.
Conclusion: While I have no evidence that these signs make the parks any safer or more pleasant, I have yet to witness any infractions. Note: for brevity I have not included the genre of signs related to dogs and dog poo. Signs on this topic are probably the most prolific in Japan and deserve their own post.
Other park signs: