Friday, September 16, 2011

impressions of japan

This is actually my second time in Japan; my first time was last year, when I studied at a language school in Aichi prefecture for a month in the summer. However, this is the first time I've been in the Kansai area (or even a more urbanized area) for more than a day trip, and while many things are the same as they were where I was last time, enough things are different that I'm still being surprised by some parts of everyday life in Japan.

Since this isn't my first time in Japan, I can't quite say what made the very first impression on me here since I probably take it for granted now, but, in any case, there have been some things that have been different since my last visit that have certainly made this year much more different than the last. Last year I lived close enough to my school's campus that I walked to class every day. I only rode the train a few times to go to Nagoya, and I never really had to deal with public transportation besides that.  However, this year, since I'm doing a homestay in an area that's a bit too far away from campus to walk or bike, I've been taking the bus to school everyday.

I'm from rural Pennsylvania, so public transportation is pretty much nonexistent where I live, and riding the bus at all is an experience in it of itself. I did notice how every bus is on time, give or take a minute or so in some cases, although I'm still not fully used to how exactly the schedule works yet. I've never had to deal with buses before, so it's a relief to know that I won't be late to class just because a bus arrived late. I also live on campus at my school in the United States, so it's also strange that I have to travel at all just to go to classes.  At the same time, it's been a great opportunity to see a little bit more of Japan outside of our secluded campus, even if it is just speeding through the area to get where I need to go.

Besides going to school, since I have a bus pass, I've been taking advantage of it to go to Hirakata Station whenever I can. Again, since I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania that doesn't even have a mall for miles, to me it's really neat to see how progressively urban Hirakata becomes as you go from Kansai Gaidai's campus to the station. Having malls, karaoke, and a ton of restaurants accessible all from the station area (and not even in as large an area as Namba or Shibuya) is just a convenience that probably didn't even catch the attention of the exchange students who are from larger cities, but to me it left an impression.

Maybe this isn't an experience completely limited to Japan, but I certainly think a life that revolves around train stations and public transportation is something quite relevant to living in Japan and is something that is going to help shape my way of living here.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting perspective to begin your blog project. I think you will learn a lot by riding the bus. It's a great way to explore. I, too, come from a rural area and was impressed by the convenient public transportation. Who needs a car (in urban Japan, anyway)? Looking forward to your future posts.

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