Japan’s national tree — concrete utility pole

One of great mysteries-of-mysteries* of “nature loving” Japan are the tangles of overhead power and phone lines that the photographer, Andreas Gefeller, almost look artistic in his: The japan series–Works…
utility pole telephone lines japan tangle of wireslines japan tangled mess telephone pole
Embiggen and more pics via andreasgefeller.com

Japan’s national tree is the concrete utility pole with a rich “foliage” of wires as I’ve have mentioned before on the 3Yen (2009-07, 2008-10, and 2007-10 —my photo on the below right). crow in flight Japanese National Tree concrete utility pole

Mega-mysterious it is, why the richer-than-Midas Japanese want such a mess of overhead power and phone lines that could be buried out of harm’s way in this earthquake-prone country. The first thing that happens in Japan’s significant earthquakes is that the tangle wires and utility poles collapse and clog the streets preventing access by emergency services. The sight of unsafe and ugly rats’ nests of overhead wiring leaves me shaking my head daily even after 25+ years in Japan.

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

14 thoughts on “Japan’s national tree — concrete utility pole”

  1. YES! If Japanese don’t get killed by their “National Tree” falling with a mess of cables during a quake, they get wacked by their crappy air-cons falling off their buildings.

  2. someothergaijin wrote:
    …during a quake, they get wacked by their crappy air-cons falling off their buildings.

    In the Great Hanshin (Kobe) Earthquake of 1995, 19% of people were killed by their crappy air-conditioners falling off the sides of their buildings (because Japan hasn’t invented central heating or air conditioning yet).
    Refer to my 3Yen report: Killer Japanese air-cons
    killer Japanese air conditioners..

  3. -The lines are aboveground to make them more survivable in earthquakes as well as easier to service normally
    -The slack in the lines is indeed there for earthquake resistance; and in most cases a pole that falls will be held off the ground by the large numbers of lines and guywires…so power will not actually be cut until the repair crew arrives.
    -it looks chaotic, but it’s very well planned, with different services at different levels of hard-to-get-to-ness, and everything labeled and sensored.
    -because of the sensors, most power outages can be traced to the exact pole, and when the linemen go out to fix it they have a system-generated procedure to follow for each service affected. When they start work, the system signals all the utilities and companies on the pole to allow rerouting if possible.

  4. Tokyo considering removing overhead power lines in run-up to 2020 Olympics
    RocketNews24 | 2015/03/24
    Now is the time for Tokyo to finally get serious about getting rid of its unsightly overhead power lines.
    Considering the importance Japanese culture puts on aesthetic beauty, travelers from overseas are often surprised by how much of Japan’s power grid is located above ground. Even in Tokyo’s 23 wards, a whopping 93 percent of energy is delivered by cables strung up on power poles
    should a major earthquake strike the capital, toppled power poles could prevent emergency response vehicles from quickly reaching victims and others in need of assistance…more…

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