Jaywalking in Japan

September 28, 2017

Hey Everybody!

Do you jaywalk? You know… the act of walking across a road in between traffic, and/or when there’s no zebra crossing. Because I do, and a lot of people I know back home do too. But, one thing I found out is that the Japanese don’t, they most certainly do NOT.

For me jaywalking is no big deal. When there is a comfortable gap between cars, I take the opportunity to walk across the road. I don’t need to wait for a coloured light to know when I can or can’t cross without being plowed over (this philosophy does not apply to drivers xD). What is the habit instilled from childhood to look left and right for, if not to teach you how to jaywalk properly, aye 😉?

But, with having to walk to and from the local train station twice a day, I soon noticed that I was the only person jaywalking.

Like, brah, the walk lights are just suggestions. They’re only there so when there is traffic people can still cross the road…

Seriously though, look at these good citizens! I stood there with a group of them for a good minute for the lights, during which no cars passed, *face palm*.


Sometimes, though, when there wasn’t an intimidating group of people waiting (like above), I have jaywalked past a single or a couple people and they followed my example. However, they’d do this with much less confidence; hurrying across, their gazes lowered to the ground as they clutched their purses in front of them.

It was like me jaywalking made it okay for them to do it too. It almost seemed like the Japanese think it is … bad (da, Da, DA)!


After an incident occurred when I invited my friends over to my homestay, I found out that this is likely the case.

We were a group walking from the train station to my house, a 15-minute walk. Out of respect, I didn’t jaywalk, but when we came up to this little one lane road, with about five stripes worth of a zebra crossing and a red walk light. I couldn’t help myself. I jaywalked it. “Ooooooh,” goaded one of the guys I invited, “bad person,” he said in his limited Japanese (he’s Chinese).

I thought, hold up. J-walking and bad, in the same sentence? Could this mean…

Well, my heavens! Where’s that mother to tell you culturally right from wrong when you need her? Not that this has stopped my habits (I’m not going to wait a minute for no cars, LOL), but it has curbed them a little and… it would have been good to know beforehand ^^.

Maybe the Japanese are just eternally patient, that would certainly also explain their whole escalator situation (explained in another post), haha.

Until next time,


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