Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs


As a student of Linguistics, I am very interested in semiotics and, in particular, the affective impact of public signs.

Last week I got to realize a lifelong dream by taking a holiday in Japan. I loved the public signs there and the politeness of some of the signs in the Tokyo subways and trains.

I think people are more inclined to co-operate if a sign is polite than if it shouts, “Do not do this! Do not do that!”.

What do you think?

For more entries to the Signs Photo Challenge, see The Daily Post.

23 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

  1. When I open this post, I cannot see the rest of the text – weird. I hooe you had a wonderful trip to Toyoko. It is also one of those places that I would love to visit one day. I have always been fascinated by Japaness culture. L

  2. I agree with you. The more “polite” a sign seems, not in capital letters, the more I don’t mind obliging to it’s message. Ah, semiotics. That takes me back to my uni days when I learnt about them in cultural studies, like what signified and signifier meant. A sign can have so many meanings.

    I read the previous comments. Happy Birthday, BB πŸ™‚

  3. Happy Birthday! Glad you had an opportunity to fulfill your dream to travel to Japan…politeness does seem to have some benefit with kind people…ah but those who are rude seem not to respond in a similar manner.

    • Thanks, Charles. It is a fascinating country.

      I’ve found that being polite in response to someone who’s being rude does sometime take the wind out of their sails, so to speak.

  4. Happy Birthday, BB! On our American highways, we tell people to reduce their speed by saying, “Reduced Speed Ahead”. This annoys me, since I prefer the direct approach, as in “Reduce Speed (you knucklehead)”. I have always assumed these signs were directed at men, who (women know) do not like to be told what to do. I guess I would flop as a Japanese person.

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