The first thing you notice, is how clean everything is kept. People actually take responsibility for their litter in Japan. And there are municipal workers who actually take seriously, the duty to clean up. (Not just unionize and figure out how to milk the job, and the public, for every dollar. For whatever excuse. Like in America.)
The other not-so-obvious observation, is that the lawyers aren’t ever-present in the minds of Japanese planners. As a result, the people of eastern Tokyo get to have something nice.
The promenade features varying brickwork. In some places it rises and falls. If there ever is a loose or missing brick, some cautionary tape is put around that spot, and you know to be careful there.
In another part of this promenade, there are actually down-and-out people who make their home on the promenade. They keep to a small space, neat. And they don’t bother anybody, and by and large, it appears, no one bothers them.
(Sure, there are probably many people passing judgment. But the difference between here and there is striking.)
When most everyone is willing to follow and enforce rules, and not blame slavery or invoke some alleged “personal liberty” for every bad behavior they care to take on public property, it makes for a nicer place to live.
So what in one country would be a lawyer’s feast, or a civil libertarians’ playground (or a drug dealer or prostitute’s place of business), becomes a nice public park that you can use 24-7.