Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ride on a bullet train

There was one day in May of 2009, when I traveled completely on my own from Somecity in Japan to Aioi to meet my older sister and her then-fiancĂ©. 

I took the wonderfully punctual bullet train (and you can put a bottle of water on the sill and it will not tip over because the ride is that smooth).  I was nervous because I could not speak Japanese and I was afraid of missing my stop and getting completely and utterly lost and having trouble trying to use a calling card and phone Stephanie and be get completely turned around trying to find the train going the opposite way.

Incidentally, I ended up in the wrong boxcar (thank God) and it proved full of peace and sweet little joys of little Japanese children on a school field trip, learning about trains.

The boxcar was colored with educational train coloring books, miniature plaid uniforms with matching caps, and school staff with still- and video- cameras for documenting (of course).  It was accompanied by the sounds of a special visit from the train conductor and a  little speech and intermittant eruptions of shrieks and contagious giggles every time we went through a tunnel.  The chaperones would turn to look at me and say, "Gomen!" and I tried to refute any concern that I was inconvenienced and responded with, "Kawaii!!"  They smiled, knowingly, but continued to apologize for the outbsursts of their excitable little travelers.

And quite quickly, I succeeded in getting to my destination, and with a much lighter heart and camera full of delightful photographs to remember their adventure out of the classroom and into the bullet train.

I am trying not to forget Japan and what they are experiencing.  I am remembering the lovely little children- so eager, so bright, and so carefree and the excitement and anticipation they unknowingly evoked to an uneasy, foreign passenger.  And I am trying not to forget that everything is different for so many, and press it to the front of my mind, that friendship will persist.

{canon powershot : a day on the bullet train, nihon}
© kimberly k taylor, all rights reserved


Victorya said...

I especially like the last picture, with the girl looking out the window. I think it's really neat that you have treasured friendships and memories from Japan.

Jason Pestell said...

I loved reading about your short conversations (verbal and non-verbal) with the chaperones of the little joy-bringers. The way you describe it and just the encounter itself were quite wonderful :)