Monday, December 26, 2011

Will Miss #401 - the blue lights

I live along a Japan Railway (JR) line that is famous for attracting suicidal jumpers. The line is named the Chuo line, and foreigners waggishly call it the "Chuocide" line because it so frequently is disrupted by those intent on offing themselves. JR obviously would rather this not happen, but rather than do what many subways have done and put up walls with electronic gates that disallow access to the tracks (unless you climb over a 4 foot wall), they've come up with a novel and greatly cheaper solution. They have installed blue lights at a few points along the platform because blue is supposed to be a soothing color which will make people think twice before taking a fatal leap. This is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound and expecting it to be sufficient remedy. 

Seeing these blue lights reminds me that silly, short-sighted solutions are a part of every culture, and I will miss seeing them and what they really represent; that is to say they reflect corporate stupidity rather than a commitment to dealing with a societal problem.