How to Avoid Carriage Rage

Just before Christmas, millions of people travel to visit far off relatives, and many of them will do so by car, leading to traffic and road rage. Sei’s list of “Hateful Things” provides insight into the annoyances one encountered in the Japan of 1,000 AD, and it seems that merely the rage-inducing technology has changed.

Sei complains about low quality, ill-kept carriages making irritating sounds:

“A carriage passes by with a nasty, creaking noise. Annoying to think that the passengers may not even be aware of this! If I am traveling in someone’s carriage and I hear it creaking, I dislike not only the noise but the owner of the carriage.”

Sei may appear finicky in this statement, but if one imagines traveling in an 11th century carriage, it becomes apparent that those wooden carriages would have been mind-numbingly slow, possibly traveling a few miles per hour on their wooden wheels. If a loud, creaking carriage were to approach one, it would be audible for a terribly prolonged period of time with no escape, and if one happened to travel in a friend’s squeaking carriage, well, it was even longer.

This holiday season, as you spend time sitting in traffic or traveling great distances, look at things from a Heian perspective. Traffic may be hateful, and you may despise the cars as well as the drivers surrounding you, or find all manner of rude behavior on the roads.

But hey – at least you can choose to ignore a car. You can’t ignore a massive squeaking carriage.

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Filed under carriages, Shonagon, travel

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