Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy Trains

The trains in Tokyo are busy. Here are what the wickets look like around 8:30am on a Monday. And this isn't even one of the busier stations on the Yamanote line (it's Tamachi station). I couldn't get a video of Shinjuku if I wanted to because it's the busiest station in the world volume-wise. And it has something like 200 exits, all-told. So you can live with this version.

Trains in Japan are used much more than most places because of crowding. Also, the trains are exceptionally punctual. And reparations if you hit someone while driving or riding a bike is extremely expensive, as I found out when I was hit by a car back in May. Anyway, this little video explains it better than I could...

I haven't managed to get photos of the station employees pushing people to fit into the trains with their white gloves. Working on it. You'll get to see once I do.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Fireworks

A little while ago I went to a fireworks show in Tokyo. Mind you I missed all the big ones for various reasons (mostly work) so I went to a rather small one to get my fix. It only lasted about 30 minutes which was a slight let-down, since most Japanese fireworks shows span over an hour or often two. These were in southern Saitama, near west Tokyo and were done every weekend in August. No wonder they were small.

Most Japanese fireworks festivals are during the summer, so fireworks are synonymous with summer. You'll see lots of people in yukata (cotton summer kimono) and happi coats (cotton jackets) wandering around long before scoping out seats, buying kaki goori (flavored shaved ice), takoyaki, yakisoba or ringo ame (candy apples) and fanning themselves with uchiwa (flat Japanese fans) while grumbling about the hear.

The fireworks themselves are quite lovely and unique at times. Sometimes you'll spot a well-known character like Hello Kitty or Doraemon among the typical round fireworks. It's a good reminder that they're much better at fireworks than we are in the US.

Anyway, this spryte approves of Japanese fireworks, no matter how long or short the show.