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Laminator Land: What to do with all the signage in Japan

My local swimming pool is a real attack on the visual senses, but no one seems to notice it but me.

Before you even step foot inside the building, you are bombarded by signs.

Of course there’s the usual ‘no smoking’, and ‘no open flames’ (for some reason, there are a few of these). But there’s also notes about how every day at 12 they close the pool for ‘safety’ (which is ridiculous in and of itself, what are lifeguards for?), detailed notes for when parents can pick up their children, notes on who can enter where, and more.

Need I remind you this is before you go inside.

Once you’re inside, it’s even worse. There are signs that have obviously been there from the start, like a map with the fire exits, and a sign about pool rules. These signs are fine.

The ticketing machine and the office window where you get your ticket scanned are both, you guessed it, also surrounded by signs.

Keep walking down the corridor, and it doesn’t get much better. There are even signs right in the centre of the mirrors in the changing rooms, right where you’d want to use the mirror for mirroring.

Do they expect us to read them all? As if that’s the only way they can share the rules. Looks like someone got a bit laminator happy.

But there’s a simple solution to this, one that is extremely obvious by visiting any worthy sushi shop or other place that has at least a smidgeon of pride in aesthetics.

Besides throwing the laminator away, as much as possible, get rid of any written characters. Use pictures if you need to. And keep the pictures isolated too, show off the wall. I’d much rather have a plain wall, than a wall of plain text.

And it wouldn’t be that hard to do!

(This is to say nothing of Haguro-san, which is also a bad culprit! I’ve been trying to get this changed, but the signs are seriously like the Hydra!)

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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