Nov 23, 2007

Even Amidst the Millions, Routine

I've moved to the Tokyo area, and this is what my life is like right now-

I wake up in Funabashi, Kori's town, most mornings. Funabashi is in Chiba, but is basically one of the several towns that are indistinguishable from Tokyo. It's a place where neon alleyways and the sound of trains are never far away, where the streets run thick with pedestrians even when I come back at nearly eleven at night, and where massive blocks of concrete hold up the various train lines that criss-cross Kanto like electronic blood vessels.

Every morning, I board one of those massive, noisy electronic blood vessels and make my way out to Narita, where I work. Invariably, the train is filled with dozing commuters and dozens of travelers, slumped upon rolling suitcases, ready to leave this archipelago in favor of a jaunt away. Perhaps others are Chinese or Korean immigrants, returning home. There are sometimes a few westerners.

I work with another native English speaker, so my schedule is lighter now. In Okayama, it was only me and a Japanese man at our school. He would teach the low level classes, teaching them “what,” and “who,” and “how,” and I would teach the advanced classes. Now, I work with another American man and two Japanese women, and my schedule is more cleared out. I have more time to read and study Japanese, more time to stare at the trees and sloping temple view from my classroom, more time to make lesson plans and be lost in my thoughts.

At night, after ten when school is over, I usually return to Funabashi. Kori, is there, of course. Even after ten the trains bustle with salarymen and sleeping pedestrians, suitcase carrying travelers and commuters. I wind my way through the dark, but hardly deserted streets, and walk along the tracks. All the while, trains blustering like Kanto's blood vessels beside me as I make my way back.

I'm enjoying this, and find it remarkable that even in the world's largest city, simple routines prevail. Of course, this makes sense when one thinks about it. On the weekends, we dip into the insanity and the bustle of the metropolis, and it's amazing. Perhaps irregularities will show up. But for now, my daily system is clear- teach, commute, and return. All the while, surrounded by the bustle millions.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

I know what you mean. LA's 500 square miles with 13 million people, but in most of my life is spent along the five mile stretch between my house and school. Seems like no matter how big the city is, you're going to have essentially the same basic routine.

The fun part's when you start exploring, though. I suspect your weekend routine will vary ever so slightly...