On Hold and Backing Up


Many people think Japan is a kind of wonderland filled with cute cartoons, fancy food, robots and pretty women. While I can’t disagree on any specific point, people who live here for awhile often find themselves complaining about various problems. I have decided that only one of those problems is unbearable. At first I was going to say two, but I have come to accept one.

The two problems were:

  1. Hold music plays loudly from phone (rather than in the line)
  2. Alarm sounds inside car while backing up

Before I go further I should honestly say this is meant to be a little humorous, but still serious – let’s say humerious – since I really have accepted both of these.

School offices are rarely quiet places and the phones are no help. Often calls come in for people who are in classrooms or otherwise need to be hunted down, which means the phone is often put on hold. Doing so plays music in the line so the person on hold realizes they are still connected; however, it also causes loud music to be played from the phone. Personally, I just don’t see such a strong need for it. Contrarily, generally when I use hold it means I need to have another conversation, so I would prefer not having some annoying electronic sound interfering. Clearly this is something one can adapt to, so it’s not so bad. At one’s own place, I’m sure the volume can be reduced or shut off… hmm… perhaps I can do it at the schools as well: I doubt anyone would notice.

Backing a vehicle carries risk of striking something unseen, particularly people are unpredictable. Anyone not realizing a vehicle near them is backing up, dramatically increases the risk of an unpleasant incident. Large trucks or other vehicles with poor visibility in America often have some kind of alarm behind the vehicle to alert people in the area. In Japan, most vehicles – without regard to the size or visibility – also have alarms. Unfortunately the alarms are on the inside of the vehicle serving no beneficial purpose. There is no warning for the pedestrians nearby and it makes noise inside the vehicle, decreasing the driver’s ability to hear what is going on around the vehicle. Some people defend this as “warning the driver that the car is in reverse”; however, any but the least skilled driver should know which gear they are in and  as soon as they release the brake it should be obvious to even the unskilled.

Officially, my opinion is: engineering design is backward and decreases margin of safety. Classification: noisome bother.


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3 Responses to “On Hold and Backing Up”

  1. Nigel Windsor Says:

    I had no knowledge of some of things you wrote about. Thanks for the info!

  2. Michelle Says:

    I so agree with you on this. That beep-beep is terrible. (I may add another beep I could have done away with when living in Japan – the beep that told me I was driving over 80 km/h. I had a small car and I did take it on the expressway a few times. That beep drove me insane.)

  3. びっくり Says:

    Oh, we don’t have that beep any more. I don’t think anyone stays under 80 on the expressways. The cops do about 100 which is a reasonable speed. Although my wife’s kei car makes a horrible whining noise at 80+. Not sure how much life is left in that poor thing.

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