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Thursday, March 6

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Did you ever notice that the end of February seems to be the part of the year when there is honestly absolutely nothing of any real interest going on? No big holidays to celebrate with lots of family and friends around you. The weather is definitely warming up, but really in a so-so kind of way. Sure, I’ve been out and about, but do you want to hear about work, volunteer obligations and the occasional dinner here and there? Probably not.

The best thing recently to talk about is that spring is starting in Japan. The ume blossoms are showing and in a few weeks, we should have sakura blossoms in full bloom. When I haven’t had work to do, I’ve taken a walk to and fro the markets in Zushi just to feel the warmth of the spring sun. Dressing is a little awkward these days. I’m not much for the layers thing, which is so incredibly… almost excessively… popular here, but it is a necessary evil. Mornings, you may still find frosty windshields, but by afternoon, a spring jacket is completely sufficient. That doesn’t stop the Japanese on the streets from wearing their padded warm winter coats still. I wonder if they stay so skinny because they wear all those layers when it isn’t necessary and therefore are sweating out any possible weight gain?

We are preparing for more travel. To a very warm part of the states. Not only is that an added bonus, but we will see many friends and family on this trip. I guess this upcoming travel is why I have been a bit low key lately. My few free weekends, I really wanted to get a lot of relaxing in. And shopping. Spring always fills me with a necessity to shop. Oh, who am I kidding… I don’t even need an excuse to shop! This time I went big ticket, though, and bought a gorgeously carved tansu. The tansu is a Japanese chest which previously was used for storage function and portability. They are made in pieces so they can be shaped in a variety of ways and easily transported. For now, I’m going with the step design version. I’m sure it won’t be long before I change my mind and try something else with it.

As the weather gets nicer, I have been wishing for one more thing, although it has gotten repeated vetoes by KH. I really want a scooter. This scooter, actually. The metallic lavender one with the tan seat.

Everyone here drives them and they make any travel not done by train so zippy and fun as you can zoom in and out of lanes instead of waiting in long lines of traffic. Like this guy who has one of the newer models. I’m not sure they were meant for laying down while driving like this guy is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they indeed were. Then there are so many different kinds of people on scooters – the delivery guys, the business men, women in skirts and there is such a variety of styles of scooters – some with coverings and some with large baskets for hauling products which sway as the driver maneuvers through traffic. It’s the zooming for which KH holds his veto ticket. Sadly, he isn’t looking like he will willingly change his mind any time soon.

The good thing is that my back up costs about 90,000 yen less. There is a Japanese bicycle I also have my eye on. Not the mountain bike variety we think of in the states, but one of those leisure bikes with the higher handle bars and baskets in the front and back. They seem so utterly old-fashioned to me, but that’s the quality I admire in them. And they are quite popular here for their convenience and design. Of course, I could always go for the style with three wheels that also is often seen on the streets of Japan. Although, these are a bit granny-like if you ask me.

1 comment:

Mike S said...

I think the scooter idea is great. My 1st wife and my son both had them there and loved them. I had my oversized Yamaha and my '68 Hog and used them almost to the exclusion of all else. I took long bicycle tours too when time allowed. Go for it!!!