Friday, October 07, 2005


Sideways flowers

Japanese ladies of a certain age are renowned for carrying large bunches of flowers sideways on the pavements of Kyushu. This has caused consternation to many foreigners who have enough problems navigating through hordes of schoolgirls, geriatrics bent-double with osteoporosis and dizzy chihuahua-walkers without having to steer their mammacharris into the gutter at a micro notice to avoid an eye-gouging by gladioli. The reason for the sideways flower holding is because of the gtreat sensitivity and awareness of the Japanese toward all things `Nature`. The flowers will suffer greatly if held upright under the full glare of an autumnal sun or to the direct ravages of a cataclysmic typhoon. Makes sense really. Historically, this horizontal holding has been challenged by the younger Japanese but an incident in Beppu in May 1992 led to the reinstatement of Oita council`s formal policy on carrying flowering plants. A 23-year-old woman was taking her fresh cut daffodils to her mother, a birthday present, carrying them upright and walking quickly. However, a sudden gust of wind caused pollen to be blown from the daffodils into a passing bus-driver`s eye leading him to him to swerve into a queue of passengers at the stop he was slowing to meet. Only three of the queue were injured and only slightly; ankle, thigh and hip damage the main concern, but this was enough for a local edict on flower-carrying to be restated and reinforced nationwide. It transpires horizontal flower- carrying shakes off the pollen immediately and allowing it to settle more quickly thus leading to a safer environment for bus queuers and contact lens wearers alike.

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