If you’re like me and enjoy riding a bike while smoking a cigar, kicking a soccer ball around, with a group of friends and your dog while also shooting off a bottle rocket or two when going to the park, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that will accept you.

But you don’t even have to be nearly as obnoxious as I am to be denied entry into some of the thousands of municipal parks across Japan. In recent years, the number of bans on a vast range of activities ordinarily done it parks from riding bikes to walking dogs have been getting banned at an alarming rate.

At least, they would be, but alarms are also probably banned in many parks.

Here’s a list of some banned activities found in various municipal parks around Japan.

No smoking
No ball games
No loud sounds
No riding bicycles
No fireworks
No barbeques
No eating or drinking on benches
No walking dogs
No chatting
No musical instruments
No dancing
No practicing comedy routines

Of course some of these limitations seem like good ideas, particularly the ones dealing with open flames. However, somewhere along the way sensible regulation seemed to have slipped into madness.

▼  “No loud voices”

Frolicking in fountain forbidden

News Post Seven cited an example in Tokyo of how this may have come to be. A park in Nishitokyo received a complaint about the “noise” of children playing in the park’s fountain. As a result, the park turned off the fountain permanently.

While parks all over confirm that these bans had come directly as a result of complaints from the surrounding community, that doesn’t mean everyone in the community supports them. Many feel these restrictions give the parks an unwelcoming atmosphere particularly for its intended users: children.

▼  “Playing with balls prohibited” and the result

However, it’s not as if the people complaining are all misers sitting in a darkened living room and peering through binoculars and dingy lace curtains growling to themselves. Although the image of children playing in the park on a sunny day is certainly heartwarming in concept, let’s face facts: children can be really annoying at times.

In fact, in the case of Nishitokyo’s park, some of the residents were recovering from serious ailments and started a petition claiming that the sounds were causing them physical distress. Cases like this leave the caretakers of parks in a delicate predicament.

More Litigious

The managers of a park in Nishinomiya City told News Post Seven that in recent years simple complaints have had a way of escalating into full-blown lawsuits way too easily. They had a similar issue with people complaining about the noise by groups performing aerobics to the radio. However, they felt that signs and bans only worked to encourage further complaints and don’t satisfy the community at large.

So, they enacted a permit system, where people wanting to exercise to the radio in groups of ten or more would have to register with the city in advance. The purpose of this is so that the park can set aside the best area of land to minimize their impact on other park goers and neighbors as well as notify them before it goes down. Although the intent seems a noble attempt to please all parties, this new nuisance of filing for an application may end up becoming a de facto ban once exercisers get fed up with it and go somewhere else.

▼  “No riding bikes” ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to run down little girls

Space is limited in Japan, and there are very few places for the youth to play around or work on their slapstick. With competition from the internet and video games, it’s getting harder and harder to get them out in the world, running, dancing, shouting, and riding bicycles. Luckily, they can still do all these things in restaurants like McDonald’s or Saizeriya (at least it seemed like it the last time I was at either place) but who knows how long that will last?

Source: News Post Seven (Japan)
Images: Himasoku