Japan's Parking Space Gestapo

To: Crecente
From: Bashcraft
RE: Somewhere Winnie the Pooh is Weeping

So sometime last year, Japan introduced new, strict parking legislation that included the creation of meter maids. They're not usually meter maids here, but old men in green uniforms on bicycles. Their job: find illegally parked cars and give them tickets. This group is run by a semi-private company. Their job: make money.

Steets in big cities like Osaka and Tokyo can get narrow. Sometimes it's hard to drive down them. Compound illegally parked cars, and it can be impossible at times. For that, yes, I am glad the government is cracking down. But, it's not just people blocking roads or people double parking. It's anyone who is parking in a non-designated parking space.

For example, today Mrs. Bashcraft took Mini-Bash to his friend's house. She stayed there and chatted with the kid's mother. The friend lives in a residential area, surrounded by houses. Mrs. Bashcraft parked in front of the kid's house. There wasn't a yellow line, a fire hydrant or a No Parking sign. What's more, she wasn't even blocking the driveway. Just parked in front of the house like people do. When she came out of the kid's house, there it was: a parking ticket.

The mother felt so guilty. She called the police, who said that Mrs. Bashcraft was parked illegally, because she wasn't parked in a parking lot or designated parking space. (Designated parking spaces are the ones you own or rent. You must have one to purchase a car in Japan. It's the law.) There was nothing they could do. The mother feels really bad and has offered to pay the ticket, but of course we'll pay it. Next time, wife and kid are going to take the subway to the kid's house. And the point of owning a car in Japan is...?

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