[The American Years]

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Greetings from Japan.

We had our first and only visitor from the states. My brother Daniel came for 2 weeks last month, and it was great. Many of my forthcoming posts will be from his visit. We went to Kyoto for his first weekend here. It was our 3rd trip to Kyoto as a family, and by far the best. Daniel was interested by Kyoto enough that he stayed 2 days after we had to return to school and work.

Then last weekend while Kathleen and the kids were on a ski trip, Daniel and I went to Tokyo for a long weekend. Again, great times were had by all.

It was interesting to have a new perspective on things. I am far from going native here, but there are things I fail to notice that Daniel picked up on right away. Like the fact that Japan lacks public seating space. He found this out very directly when, because of crossed wires, he was stuck in Nagoya station for hours on his day of arrival.

Unlike many American train stations (to be fair, I think I've been in a total of 3 large American train stations), Nagoya station has no central waiting and sitting area. Nothing. Nor do the other stations we passed through. So on his day of arrival, after 10 hours in a coach seat and 3 hours on trains from Tokyo, he was left to pace the Nagoya station waiting to be met by us. Funny story, we never met him on his day of arrival. Hilarious hijinks! Is it any wonder he was our only visitor?


Now, completely unrelated, is a little video of my Shinkansen (bullet train) ride back from Tokyo to Nagoya. In this photo, my handheld GPS (which stands for Geek Position Substantiated) registered 246km/hr, which is about 37 miles/hour. Just kidding, it's just over 150 miles/hour. Never fails to impress me.

The rest of the people in the car couldn't care less it seems. I am always tempted to walk through the cabin yelling and people, waking them up. "Get up! How can you people sleep! Don't you realize you are hurtling through time and space an unnatural speeds?! This is the most amazing thing ever, and you people just don't care! You act like this happens every day!... Oh, it does? Hmm. Impressive."

Mata ashta.


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