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Netflix's Japan-set Old Enough! offers a glimpse of an alternate reality where toddlers can roam the streets by themselves without harm

  • "If the show were set in the United States, the parents would be under investigation by Child Protective Services, and the children in foster care," says Henry Grabar. "Like many things about Japan, it would be easy to attribute Hajimete no Otsukai (literally, 'First Errand') to some cliché about Japanese essentialism. But the Japanese are not so different from us. They’ve just made policy choices that make it possible for kids to run their first errand a decade before their American counterparts get to do the same." Hironori Kato, a professor of transportation planning at the University of Tokyo, adds: “In Japan, many kids go to neighborhood schools on foot and by themselves, that’s quite typical...Roads and street networks are designed for kids to walk in a safe manner."

    TOPICS: Old Enough!, Netflix, Reality TV