Every time I watch a video that features people, usually teenaged or young adult men, doing tricks on some device – skateboards, bikes, scooters or something of the like – I can’t help but notice the film’s location. For what I imagine are various reasons, a lot of these kinds of videos are shot in neat locations whether tropical, intensely urban or just far away. I like these videos because they offer me relatively accidental insightful viewing. There’s a keen sense of a place I get when watching these films. While the camera often focuses on the forefront action, the background and peripheral action is also recorded. During these times, I feel I see the respective destinations and their citizens candidly. This video features, of all things, scooters in Shanghai bending their way around the streets.
Everyone I know who has spent any time in Vietnam has bemoaned how challenging it is to cross the streets there. It’s like a game of Frogger, but the stakes are much higher. This time lapse shows just how chaotic and frenetic the streets of Ho Chi Minh City actually are. The number of motorbikes along is staggering. Add to that roundabouts, limited traffic signage and pedestrians and you have yourself some organized chaos. We recommend that you look both ways (heck, look up and down while you’re at it) before crossing the street.
OK, this is absolutely brilliant. Imagine having to speed through Tokyo on your Honda Super Cub scooter. That is hard enough without having to worry about carrying a tray filled with bowls of soup!
Of course, it takes Japanese ingenuity to design a simple and crude way to keep things from spilling.
I’m not really sure what to call it, so I’ll just name it the “scooter self stabilizing soup shelf”, or S5 for short. It’s not much more than a couple of bits of tubing, a piece of wood and some form of shock absorber.
Even a parked scooter will be no match for the S5, parked up against the curb, the shelf stays level, and you don’t lose a drop of whatever you are carrying. Apparently these things have been around for years, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone photograph them.
There are several more of these contraptions captured on film by Lee Chapman, the Brit in Tokyo behind Tokyotimes.org. His site is filled with fantastic articles and some pretty stunning photography, certainly worth checking out.