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Your hobbies are not nearly obscure enough
July 11, 2007 11:10 PM   Subscribe

Traffic signals! Yes, an entire page devoted to the myriad varieties of Japanese LED traffic signal. They even have a mapping feature and a traffic signal lingo dictionary. I hereby dare ANYBODY to find a cooler hobby than this.
posted by odasaku (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know if it's cooler or not, but this reminds me of people who track public security cameras - a hobby which has the (perhaps accidental) merit of being useful.
posted by facetious at 11:15 PM on July 11, 2007


This is unbelievably obsessive.
posted by blacklite at 11:29 PM on July 11, 2007


Amber, green and red surprise.
posted by tellurian at 11:38 PM on July 11, 2007


Here is one of my favorite WTFers, taken on my daily bicycle commute back in 1999.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:48 PM on July 11, 2007


Wow - traffic lights. Did I say ... wow?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:05 AM on July 12, 2007


Is that first link the periodic table of the Japanese LED traffic signal? There seem to be blank spots, do those predict possible signal designs?
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:14 AM on July 12, 2007


And I might add, highly confusing traffic lights seem like a great way to encourage mass transit.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:17 AM on July 12, 2007


I hereby dare ANYBODY to find a cooler hobby than this this a cool hobby.

Fixed that for ya.
posted by zardoz at 12:21 AM on July 12, 2007


A hobby should be something more interesting and pleasant than doing what everyone else dislikes: waiting for traffic signals to change. But if two or more people can do it together as friends, I suppose it's not much worse than people sitting together and waiting for fish to bite hooks, or riding bicycles up hills just so they can ride them back down.
posted by pracowity at 12:48 AM on July 12, 2007


This is great!
....although my name's not Bamber
posted by bunglin jones at 12:58 AM on July 12, 2007


Well it certainly sheds a light on all the traffic jams.
posted by gomichild at 1:02 AM on July 12, 2007


In related "news"... what is said to be the only upside down traffic signal in the USA.
posted by ubiquity at 2:04 AM on July 12, 2007


They have flashing lights to tell them when to move and when to stay still? Man, the Japanese are weird.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:16 AM on July 12, 2007


The first link reminds me of the song 'One of these things is not like the other...'
posted by MtDewd at 5:29 AM on July 12, 2007


Wow. Traffic lights. That look to be the same as english ones, but lying down! How exciting!

Ahem... I want to know what more countries don't do the same as the French. After a certain time, some lights stop doing the red/yellow/green thing and just flash on yellow. The idea seems to be "do what the hell you want, but if it goes wrong it's your own fault". Great idea.

On the flip side, they tend to tie their speed cameras monitors to the traffic lights so that if you go too fast the lights change to red...
posted by twine42 at 5:49 AM on July 12, 2007


Pronounced erry-dee traffiki sigunal.

There are some pretty odd hobbies out there, like mapping the coloration of Exit signs. The Air Sickness Bag Museum. The Secret Society of Happy People. People who make beautiful clothes out of condoms (worth an FPP that one).
posted by nickyskye at 5:55 AM on July 12, 2007


I don't get it. These all seem like regular traffic lights to me.
posted by delmoi at 5:59 AM on July 12, 2007


twine42: go through any Smalltown USA and, after 9 pm or so, every light will do the yellow/red flashing thing.
posted by heydanno at 6:12 AM on July 12, 2007


Japanese traffic light trivia:

1) They don't say red, yellow (amber) and green - it's red, yellow and blue.

2) For some reason, they often couple a main red light with green (blue) arrows. I've even seen signals with the left, straight and right arrows all green (blue), and a red light above that. (In case you're wondering, you ignore the red light.)

3) (In answer to twine42)
They also use flashing yellow lights late at night. I've recently seen (in Kyushu) intersections at which the one road has flashing yellow and the other flashing red - in other words go when safe, but the road with flashing red should give way.

4) Yesterday (also in Kyushu) I came across an intersection where the main road at traffic lights but the side road didn't! Not so safe, I thought...
posted by Shen at 6:16 AM on July 12, 2007


Flashing yellows late at night is relatively common in Alberta, especially at intersections in the middle of nowhere which are inexplicably busy during rush hour but abandoned at night.
posted by watsondog at 6:39 AM on July 12, 2007


Mapping traffic signals in the US: nerdy, obsessive and perhaps a sign of Asperger's Syndrome.

Mapping traffic signals in Japan: cool, sugoi, and trendy.

I'm reminded of the whacker subculture in the US -- basically people who are obsessed with the inner workings, procedures and tools of public safety professions. There are even collectors of police lightbars.
posted by elmwood at 7:18 AM on July 12, 2007


I suppose I just proved to the world that I've only actually driven in the UK and in France...
posted by twine42 at 7:43 AM on July 12, 2007


It's the good old Japanese tradition of Kougengaku, which is basically the practice of carefully regarding everyday manifestations like fences and signposts.
Kon Wajirou is the father of the discipline. The practice was later proselytized by Akasegawa Gempei and his Thomassons.
posted by odasaku at 7:53 AM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to go around photographing traffic lights as a hobby, but the chicks just wouldn't leave me alone. Two or three a night really wears you out, and eventually you feel like you're being used. So, I had to give up the hobby.

Now I just stick to my other hobbies of singing in my internationally mega-successful rock band, world class surfing, curing cancer, and saving baby seals.
posted by Muddler at 8:02 AM on July 12, 2007


Translation of the first link. Very confusingly strange.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:07 AM on July 12, 2007


and blue

the Japanese aren't idiots; the word for blue can range from the mefi background to the [greenish-blue] color of . . . traffic lights.

At any rate, the color of "go" in lights is a lot closer to their "blue" than their "green" (which is the color of verdant growth).

I'm reminded of the whacker subculture in the US

and/or "trainspotters".
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:20 AM on July 12, 2007


*cough*
posted by dreamsign at 10:08 AM on July 12, 2007


This is much more entertaining when you use Google to translate the pages.

"It came out, it came out. So it increased!!..."

"The new lens (it rubs, the glass??)"
posted by desjardins at 10:17 AM on July 12, 2007


Here is one of my favorite WTFers, taken on my daily bicycle commute back in 1999.

Might explain some of these accidents.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:30 PM on July 12, 2007


page != site.
posted by signal at 2:09 PM on July 12, 2007


It's the good old Japanese tradition of Kougengaku...

Oh. That makes it cool, then. I thought it was just some dorks being hyperfascinated by traffic signals.

All you bloody silly trainspotters and stamp collectors, stop that! Go out and stare at traffic signals!
posted by pracowity at 4:52 AM on July 13, 2007


Those are some of the most hypnotic things I've seen.

Arrrrgh, can't stop looking...
posted by hadjiboy at 9:47 AM on July 13, 2007


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