Long Awaited Oxford Street ‘X-crossing’ opened

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オックスフォード・サーカスにスクランブル交差点が完成、本日、記念式典が行われた。アニメのコスチューム姿のイギリス人たちが見守る中、祭りの法被姿の日本人が太鼓を叩き、ロンドン市長が銅鑼を鳴らし、交差点の開通を祝った。

ロンドンのショッピング・エリアのど真ん中に位置するオックスフォード・サーカスの交差点は、毎年約2億人が行き来するロンドンの中でも、最も混雑するエリアだ。渋谷スクランブル交差点を参考に、500万ポンドをかけて作られたこの交差点は、以前はフェンスで囲まれ、何故か横断歩道が道路の真ん中で分断されており、道路の向こう側に行くには2回信号を渡らねばならなかった(しかもこの2つの信号は何故かずれていて、まっすぐに繋がっていない)。なので、斜め前の交差点に行くには、信号を4回渡るか、地下のチューブの駅を通っていく(出口が多いので、迷う可能性あり)しかなかく、しかも非常に混んでいるので、苦痛に近かった。しかし今年4月の交差点建設発表から半年ちょっと。今はフェンスも取り払われすっきり、道を渡るのが非常に楽になりそうだ。

しかし、「homage to its Far Eastern inspiration(東洋から得た交差点のインスピレーションへのオマージュ)」とのコンセプトで企画された記念式典は、西洋人の考える典型的な「東洋」のイメージで、アジアの文化がごっちゃまぜ。2mもある大きな銅鑼(スイスのメーカー、パイステ社製)は日本というより中国、太鼓は日本、そして「東京」を意識した、アニメのへんてこな髪型と衣装に身を包んだ居心地悪そうなイギリス人たち。また、「変な」日本のイメージが増幅されそうだわ。

Long awaited Oxford Circus ‘X-crossing’ opened toay, and the celebration for its opening was held at the junction. London mayor Boris Johnson struck a huge cymbal and Japanese musicians played Taiko drums, surrounded by people dressed in Manga (Anime) characters costumes.

Oxford Circus junction is one of the most crowded part in London as located in a heart of the shopping district, where 200 million people visit every year. This £5m diagonal crossing, inspired by the Shibuya X-crossing in Tokyo. The four corners of the junction are used to blocked by barriers. There were a small ‘island’ in the middle the street to divide the crossing in half , therefore, you had to cross 2 signals in order to cross the street. To go to the opposite diagonal corner, you had to choose either passing 4 crossings or going underground with a risk of getting lost among many exits. The area was extremely crowded, and it was like a torture to cross the junction. It’s been over 6 months since the new plan of X-crossing revealed in April – now the junction looks more neat and much easier to cross the street.

By the way, what is all about the ceremony “homage to its Far Eastern inspiration”?? It is a typical image of Westerners about ‘Orientals,’ mixing up all the eastern Asian cultures together (sometimes even with southeast Asia, too, such as Thai etc). The huge 2m-high cymbal (made by Swiss company Paiste) is more like China than Japan, Japanese drums, and the British in peculiar costumes of Anime characters who looked very embarrassed – I am afraid the ceremony would amplify the image of ‘eccentric’ Japan…

Oxford Circus Crossing – before
Oxford Circus intersection before

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