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Parade Route

October 30th, 2007

I’m beginning to think that Meiji Boulevard, one of the major inner-city traffic arteries, is an official parade route. A few weeks ago, at 7:00 pm–typically a rush time–some major festival occupied half the entire boulevard for at least a two-mile stretch. One would think that a matsuri, which after all depends on foot traffic, could survive on smaller streets instead of completely stopping traffic on major thoroughfares.

Tonight there was another one. At school, we could faintly hear chanting and singing pass by. A half hour later, on my way home, I encountered the cause: a parade, again taking up half of Meiji Boulevard, again at 7:00, causing a major traffic snarl. This parade was complete with a marching band and huge flag banners, and by that time, had traffic snarled up for a good mile behind it. While waiting for a large part of the procession to cross the street at an intersection where traffic lights were diverted for the parade’s passing, another biker told me that it was probably Waseda University celebrating some baseball victory. Swell–thanks Waseda, we are overjoyed with your victory and your decision to celebrate it by causing a major traffic jam.

My question is, why don’t the police–who in both cases were present in large numbers for crowd and traffic control–make these people celebrate in a place that cause far less disruption? And why do revelers want to tie up the only viable route of traffic in an area for thousands of people during rush hour? Especially for the baseball parade, which was not like a normal parade where people expect it and line the sides of the street to enjoy (a planned event for the benefit of the townspeople, with traffic warned and effectively diverted around it); it was instead, essentially, the celebrators by themselves, strutting down Main Street for their own pleasure. No warning, no signs suggesting detour, no reason for drivers to seek out side streets or back roads before they get mired in the traffic jam. Lovely.

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  1. Troy
    October 30th, 2012 at 13:57 | #1

    Interesting question.

    In group/out group?

    Waseda people pushing their institutional muscle around?

    On the lighter side, I am reminded of the semi-apocryphal Hanshin Tigers fans stealing Col Sanders and drafting him as the missing gaijin for the bridge-jumping tradition.

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