Vibrant billboards, neon lights, video advertisements, and trendy shop logos. These are among many of the pictorial signs seen walking the streets of a major Japanese city. Looking closer to the ground level, you may find a sign denoting a pedestrian crossing or subway entrance. However, not all signs are things you would normally see in another country or expect while sightseeing. Japan has signs for practically everything imaginable and some are more obscure than others.
One focus of the Japanese culture is an effort towards safety. There are constant reminders of how to safely walk around a city or use public transportation. The great thing is that you do not need to understand Japanese to understand many safety signs. There are plenty of drawings, graphics, and examples without the use of words for citizens and tourists. Some of the safety signs you may come across are quite humorous.
Beyond safety, there is a right way and wrong way to do many activities. In order to bridge the language barrier gap for tourists, directions are often given as pictorial diagrams. Many of the diagrams are comical, but they do illustrate the point well. Reading interesting signs and directions will help you stay safe, follow Japanese laws, and adhere to local customs without issue. The last thing anyone would want to do is to use a toilet incorrectly.
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