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Journals from Kanto Gakuin University, Japan

2014-02-09 Living Local

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A common view, walking to and from the train station in Gumyoji

It's my first day back in the States and so I'm still rather jet-lagged. So for today's post, I'll just talk a little about my lifestyle in Japan compared to back home.

I do miss walking along the river to and from home everyday in Gumyoji— the view, the animals (carp, turtles, waterfowl, and two particular blue herons. Plus, it was a nice route to walk whenever I wanted to breathe some fresh air, explore the neighborhood, or ride bikes. (And by "ride bikes" I mean I sat on the back of my friend's bike, and he pedaled for the both of us.) So much was within walking distance, 20-30 minutes usually— neighboring cities, parks, train and subway stations, supermarkets, karaoke, restaurants...  Another aspect of transportation in Japan that I miss is the train system. Japan's railway system is one of the most advanced, so the absence of trains as a means of everyday transport in the U.S. is even more pronounced. But, I digress.
One thing that's nice about walking around back home is, strangers I pass across the street will say hello, and I can greet them back— and it's not weird or uncommon, unlike where I lived in Japan. I won't have a problem readjusting to this, at least... Although strangers don't casually greet one another, communities and neighborhoods are still supportive of one another. Nearer to the end of my time in Gumyoji, neighbors would recognize me and nod or utter a greeting in response. One time, when I was running to the train station, my scarf blew off in the wind without my noticing. I was well over 30 meters away, but I heard someone calling out to a young woman— luckily I turned around and realized she was addressing me and rushing over holding up my scarf, and thanked her earnestly. It was a long ways for her to walk in the cold weather, and I remembered passing her in front of her house where she was busy gardening...

I'll dearly miss my home away from home.

- Caitlyn

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