I Think I'm Turning Japanese
Is it too early to be taking inventory of the things I will miss come August? Just on my daily commute alone, I have made a long mental list of all the familiar things that I will wish I could take with me back to America.

-The pink and purple "From the first train to the last" sign plastered on the floor of the Yamate-Seishinchuo subway platforms, indicating which train car is for Ladies Only

-The friendly chime that plays as a train approaches

-Nasal cries of "Irasshaimase!" coming from combinis, bakeries, and cafes, greeting the morning commuters and welcoming them into their shops

-little old ladies wobbling alongside the rushing crowd, making me feel like an 8-foot tall giant towering over their salt-and-pepper heads

-the friendly train station workers, who, I've noticed, seem to all wear black plastic-rimmed glasses. Is this part of the uniform?

I have surprisingly never protested against daily use of public transportation, not only because I really have no choice (seeing as how I can't afford a car, and I am slightly terrified of trying to figure out how to navigate through Kobe), but also because my commute affords me time to do many things: read, nap, obsess over my calendar, send emails. Unless I am wearing some uncomfortable shoes and forced to stand up, I quite enjoy the lengthy commute. I am not sitting in stop-and-go traffic, the trains are always on time, and the lady train always smells quite pleasant. I haven't had to worry about gas, toll, parking (and parking tickets... yuck), road rage, annoying radio commercials, lack of good music available. So, if given the option at home, I would rather have a one-hour stress-free commute over a half hour of sitting on the Bay Bridge or some bottleneck on 880.


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