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Project 2:  Japan

Train Travel in Japan
by Gordon Klco

            Sitting on a train to Osaka I have lost myself in a train car.  Looking around I see nothing that I have seen before. Japan is a bustling country and its trains are a perfect metaphor for the Japanese lifestyle.  Train travel is very important in Japan.  It is the main mode of transportation for most people.  When I experienced this type of travel I found it extremely interesting to just watch. To learn about the culture and thoughts of the people of Japan through such a big part of their life, train travel.

       When studying train travel I tried to just take everything in and remember it in detail like Dorinne Kondo does in Crafting Selves.  I tried to see the small things going on and find how they connect to Japanese culture much like she does at her job in Tokyo.  By painting a picture for myself and others I really could look at how train travel fits into Japanese culture. 

Much of my time spent on trains was very comfortable.  The trains are big and modern with computers and automated voices telling you what to do.  This is also seen throughout the rest of  the Japanese lifestyle.  They seem to strive for being as modern as possible.  In the way they dress, in their technology and how they get from point A to point B.  Everything is fast and clean.  The trains were very quiet, not like many trains I’ve been on where people are talking loudly into cell phones while others have conversations over them.  Instead, the people are in their own worlds, although they do not talk on cell phones everyone does their own thing.  They plug themselves into iPods, PSP’s, magazines, text messaging or fall asleep with their heads lulling back and forth.  There seems to be a disconnect from the rest of the world surrounding them.  They go into their own world, not paying attention to anything around them.  I have done this before, walking around on my home campus.  It’s a sign of comfort and trying to make the everyday grind different (by listening to music or reading something new).  They seem to not want or need to pay attention to their surroundings.  The Japanese people are very trusting.  When they sleep on the trains they show that they do not worry about people stealing; they simply just pass out without a second thought. 

By looking at how people commute I got an insight onto what people do everyday, over and over.  It was very interesting to see how people conducted themselves.  Through my observations I found that the Japanese people are a very private people.  They keep to themselves on the train just as they keep their culture and customs to themselves in the world.     

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