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Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010


High praise for piazzas; Japan not so clean, friendly

A must for societal well-being

I read your article on public space ("Plans for public space need public's input," Hotline to Nagatacho, Oct. 26), and I couldn't agree more.

I just got back from Europe, and have returned to my city of birth, Vancouver. I must say, the hardest part for me is to go back to the ways of no public space. The streets of Vancouver are all linear and have no piazzas or even park benches.

In my opinion, the greatest feature of European urban design is the piazza. I mean, something simply that allows people to gather, and not to have to worry about purchasing something. Getting outside and simply being is very difficult when all the streets lead to other streets with no piazzas or common areas of resting. It seems like a person cannot even pause to simply rest and enjoy the people around him/her when there is no public space.

Now don't get me wrong: Vancouver has many parks and beaches where people can sit in nature and relax. But I want to be able to do the same without having to travel to the beach.

The piazza is essential to the functioning of a society's well-being.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Starry-eyed group of expats

Re: "In terms of expat life, what gives Japan the edge over other Asian countries?" Views From The Street, Oct. 26:

I'm not really sure how you managed to find such a starry-eyed group of expats, but I have to wonder if the prerequisite for this article was that you've lived here less than three weeks.

"Cleanliness"? "Orderliness"? "Friendliness"? Surely these people don't actually speak the language and cannot understand what's truly being said around them!

From people knocking each other down to beat them to trains, to people walking out of men's room stalls and breezing past the sink with nary a thought of soap or water!

I'm certain there are other places that might be less desirable to live, but let's not try to paint a utopian picture here, please.


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