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Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

LIFELINES

Escalator etiquette, TV tours


A couple of replies to the query about why people stand on escalators on the right in Osaka and on the left in Tokyo:

Wayne says we should tell the reader who asked that it wasn't so long ago that a person would have "one heck of a time" trying to walk up or down an escalator — period.

"Everyone stood on escalators on both left and right sides, so blocking you if you wanted to walk. It's only been in the last 20 years (at the very most) that people have stood to one side to let others walk on. I often found that very frustrating when I was in a hurry."

Bruce in Nagoya says his understanding is that the custom came about due to the expo in Osaka in 1970, when the city was trying to become "international."

"Everyone was instructed to stand on the right to make visitors feel more at home, and it stuck. I can't vouch for this explanation, but it sounds like it might be true."

So this means all visitors from abroad stand on the right? In the U.K. they do, but how about elsewhere?

Alan and his wife have heard you can take children around the TV studios at NHK in Tokyo. "Do you know anything about the setup? How do we get in and how much is it?"

If you choose to walk, the NHK studio complex is at 2-2-1 Jinnan, Shibuya Ward. The easiest way, however, is to take the subsidized NHK shuttle bus from outside Shibuya JR Station, just across the road from the Hachiko exit. This will deliver you to the entrance of NHK Studio Park — the only part of Japan's national broadcasting center that is open to the public. There is a small charge for entry. Note also that it is open from 10 a.m.-5.30 p.m., and is closed on the third Monday of every month. You can phone (03) 3485-8034 or check the official Web site (Japanese only) at www.nhk.or.jp/studiopark/. For everything you need to know in English, see www.tcvb.or.jp/en/infomation/7recom/swt04.html.

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