Although it’s true that I drive a car quite a bit here in Japan when it comes to moving over distance, moving to work or needing be anywhere at exactly the right time I use the public transport system. Driving a long way in any kind of car just doesn’t appeal to me and estimating traffic congestion in an effort to be on time is like divining water with a bent stick at best.
Anyone who knows me will know that I love to mix work and pleasure. I admit I work hard but also play hard. Sometimes I mix work and play into one activity but for the most part I refer to time sharing between play and work. Naturally within my play time I include looking after my family as to me that is just a mountain of fun.
When working I will most commonly be teaching English conversation at either Smith’s School of English Fukushima ( スミス英会話福島 )
or Smith’s Kyobashi schools. When not teaching I may be found working on activities such as the administration for the Smith’s School system, working one on one with a school owner or training a new teacher to join our system. When not working leisure activities which I love include mountain walking, visiting Onsens (Japanese Hot Springs) and Ocean Racing standing upon high performance racing yachts.
Not that long ago my wife and I decided to go to an Onsen. Japanese Onsens or hot springs as they are known in English are always a treat and I love going whenever the chance presents itself. This particular Onsen was way up in the mountains in an area about 300 kilometres from our home. To call it a retreat from urban life would be a gross understatement and yet Japan transport had the infrastructure in place to get us there. We used a local train to get us to a luxury express train station. The express quietly ran at high speeds while it’s staff served us hot tea and snacks. Upon arriving at the next hub station we used yet another local train to take us to a bus stop, then a bus to the front door of the Onsen. The transit times for each phase of the trip were all written into a schedule provided by our travel agent and it was 100% spot on. We moved through 4 different carriers and connected perfectly on time at each stage. Upon arrival at the Onsen we did not feel as if we had just been squeezed through a ringer, quite the contrary the journey was a part of the fun. Japanese transport for fun.
Last Friday I travelled to Azamino, Yokohama to visit Mike the owner of Smith’s School of English Franchise Azamino. This was most probably the last face to face I will be able to have with Mike for some time as his school has successfully changed hands and the new owner, Rob, will arrive next week.
On this day I caught the 9:37 local train from my home station, Kawanishi to Shin Osaka it left Kawanishi at exactly 9:37 and arrived at 10.12 I bought a Starbucks scone and coffee and then boarded the 10:17 bullet train to Yokohama. My ticket said the train would travel the 390 klm in 134 minutes arriving at Shin Yokohama at 12:34 and that is exactly what it did. From Shin Yokohama station I walked downstairs and looked for the next train heading to Azamino. I found a subway train leaving at 12:48 with scheduled arrival of 13:03. I boarded the train found a seat and arrived at Azamino station at exactly 13:03. Japanese transport for work.
It doesn’t matter whether I am just moving from my home to teach English in Fukushma Osaka, travelling hundreds of kilometers across the country for business or moving to some hide away in the mountains, what I know is that Japan’s transport system will get me and that I will arrive in a clean and comfortable condition. Japan makes it easy for me and millions of others just like me everyday. What’s more amazing is She runs on time.
Agreed 100%! Public transportation in Japan is the best! The bullet train is absolutely my favorite mode of transportation period. It’s so efficient and relaxing.
A student at スミス英会話福島 was telling me about how he had gone snowboarding and took a bus that went from Osaka, Umeda directly to
the ski resort in Shiga prefecture, 4 hours away. Things like that really set Japan apart.
Couldn’t agree more, Mark. Japan is the only place I’ve ever lived that offers seamless, convenient and comfortable public/pvt transport to just about every nook and cranny in the country.
By the way, the natural corollary of this wonderful transport network: depending upon one’s needs, Japan can be a very easy place to live with little/no dependence on a car and thus a relatively small carbon footprint.
I should add: I’ve never lived in EUR, but suspect similar networks may exist there.