If you’re in this part of Nagoya, make sure you watch your step, not your screen.
Thanks to Japan’s relatively advanced mobile Internet and high-spec cell phones of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it took a bit of time for smartphones to catch on. They’ve quickly become the norm for young consumers and new service subscribers, though, but along with that added functionality and convenience comes a potential problem.
Simple math tells us that the more time people spend looking at their smartphones while walking, the less time they spend paying attention to their surroundings, which can lead to collisions with fellow pedestrians or other accidents. Even our staff members sometimes fail to resist the temptation to whip out their phone without ceasing their steps.
In response, several municipalities have started awareness campaigns with signs and posters cautioning people not to use their smartphones while walking. Of course, those are hard to notice if your eyes are glued to your screen. But Japanese Twitter user @George7650 has found what seems to be the ultimate deterrent.
“This road will definitely kill anyone who walks along it while staring at their smartphone,” tweeted @George7650, as not only will doing so mean you miss out on the lovely scenery, you’ll stumble into one of the walkway’s rocky pond cut-outs, likely bashing your skull or another critical body part against the stonework.
The walkway is part of Hisaya Odori Park in Nagoya, and other Twitter users who saw George7650’s photo seemed likewise convinced that it’s only a matter of time until the zigzagging walkable space leads to some devastating slapstick. “I’d like to set up a camera and film the results of this fantastic trap,” said one commenter, while another asked “Is this something from [Nintendo motorcycle stunt riding video game] Excitebike?”
It should be pointed out that Hisaya Odori Park was originally laid out shortly after World War II, and the weathered pavement suggests that this footpath predates the proliferation of smartphones, if not mobile phones in general. Still, a good urban planner thinks ahead, and the park’s designers seem to have inadvertently created an extremely effective (and painful) countermeasure against distracted walking.