Long Journey Home

*Twinkle* and I are now on our way back to Tokyo from Kobe – by local train. We left our friend’s apartment 3 hours ago. We’ll arrive at home in about 8 hours time.

We’re not the only ones to have chosen this incredibly slow, but incredibly cheap way to back to the capital. At 1300 yen (£6) each, it costs a fraction of the price of a ticket on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) – the cheapest ticket on that costing over 10 times what we’ve paid for this. This explains why this little three-carriage train is packed full to bursting , like the Yamanote line at rush hour, full of commuters making their way around central Tokyo. The man standing in just to the side of my seat has, over the past 20 minutes, moved further towards assuming the position of sitting on my lap backwards than is comfortable, but there’s not much I can do about it. I find it ironic that, in a country where there respect for others is supposed to be highly valued, people are forced into playing twister in public every time they want to go somewhere on a train.

Anyway, this train has reached the end of its short run. Changing trains at the next station, someone might be lucky enough to have my crotch in their face then…

Osaka cafe

I’m in the “new reborned Cafe Break”, where they request that you “please enjoy your time in the pocket park in a city” (note that the cafe is not situated in a park. It’s in an underground shopping mall). The sandwich menu lists all sorts of treats, including the “Daily Dog”. I think I’ll give that one a miss.

Back on track


I’m back in the rounge again. Lots of naked legs around me, poking out from between the folds of their Yukatas.

The HUGE TV at the front of the room is showing what I first thought was a second-rate imitation of Jurassic Park. However, having just caught a glimpse of the face of the main character, I realise that I was right, it is Jurassic Park – part 56. A dinosaur using a mobile phone? You have to be kidding! And hang on, why is this dinosaur that just smashed through a 4-metre high triple-reinforced dinosaur-proof fence now having problems getting into a wooden barn? And why are these Americans speaking Japanese? Surely, in such a stressful situation the last thing they’d be thinking about is practicing what they learned during last Monday night’s Japanese language course.

Yesterday I was on a real downer. It wasn’t just yesterday though, it’s been coming for a week or two. I was starting to get into that space where all I want to do is watch films, try and lose myself in other people’s tragedies. Whilst films arewonderful, when it reaches the stage that one wants to watch a video every day, I believe one needs to take a step back and think why it is that one would rather live the lives of others rather than one’s own.

Luckily, I have with me Susan Jeffers’ classic, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, and this evening have devoured over half of it.

It is tremendously empowering, and contains some great quotes.

“Ships in harbor are safe – but that’s not what ships are built for.”
– John Shedd

“The best way out is always through”
– Helen Keller

“Not a shred of evidence exists that life is serious!”
– Jan Marshall

I particularly like that final one. Brings it all back into perspective.