This is a note on personal safety more than anything else. Smaller cities and suburban areas often have open gutters along many of the roads. Sometimes they are covered by specially fitted concrete tiles, but more often they are not. Given the sheer amount of rain in Japan, these gutters are necessary to keep streets from flooding. These gutters are molded out of concrete, about a foot across and three and a half feet deep. And very easy to miss.
The trouble comes from both the placement and design of these gutters. They line the edges of the road, and fit into them so well you don’t even notice they are there. There’s simply a gap, a place where the road doesn’t exist between the sidewalk, with both sides still being perfectly even and flat. Further more, covered and uncovered sections seem to be disturbed almost arbitrarily at times. Allowing one tire to drift into one of these gutters could easily break one of the axles. If you’re not aware of them, or aren’t focused due to consumption of, let’s say alcohol, you could stumble over and make one poorly placed step. You’ll be in the gutter up to your while still half on the side walk. Flip a coin to see which of your legs ends up breaking from the fall. So keep your eyes peeled.