Synchronized Scaffolding

Japanese culture is strong on group consensus, group activity and the notion of teamwork.

A cool sight yesterday at a building where external maintenance work has been carried out for the last few weeks. My arrival was perfectly timed as they had just started dismantling the scaffolding.

(click images to enlarge)

In perfect alignment and with a continuous chorus of “Hai, hai, hai…” it came down piece by piece. Suddenly they’d all run in a wave to the other side of the building and continue. Then back again.

Whenever anyone needed to enter the building, the guy at the bottom would shout, everyone would freeze and stop work, and the person would scurry past (a girl enters at 2:00, and a bicycle at 3:15 in the video below).

Passing people exclaimed “amazing!” and children implored their mothers to stop so they could watch.
A small crowd gathered and you can hear some of them in the video from 3:16.

And the workmen seemed to enjoy it too, playing up to the crowd. Watch the guy third from the top at 0:47 and 1:18!

(Video is best watched at high resolution – click on the “360p” when the video is playing and then choose an “HD” option. Then go fullscreen)


I passed by the site again just as it was getting dark to find the very last pieces of scaffolding being placed on the truck and tied down.

Total time: 5 hours 30 minutes.



~ by JapanGasm on 25 December, 2011.

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