|apartment complexes / a side road|
I was placed in a homestay in Higashiyamatoshi. It's about 45min by train from Shinjuku. Everyone says that this is 'rural' Japan, but its just as busy a neighborhood as some areas of Pittsburgh. The pictures that I took of Higashiyamatoshi I took with the intention of making it seem more rural, but it really is quite bustling. It's just a ten minute bus ride to Tachikawa, and that is certainly not rural by any stretch.
|There is this little field with walking / bike baths running through it. It's adorable.|
The fact that all the Japanese people here call this 'rural' really is a testament to how ... crowded Japan is. The population is truly immense for the size of the land, and you can sometimes feel it while walking down the streets in Tokyo. However what is interesting is that this large population has given birth to a subculture based upon keeping your existence as unbothersome as possible. When you are figurative bumping elbows with your neighbors all the time, it's best to be as little of a disturbance as possible.
|This little segment where the grass overcomes the road is my favorite path.|
It's interesting, because everyone that has been to Japan, and even those who haven't, all profess that Japanese people are so polite and they are so respectful of one another. Whether this is actually true or not I'm sure is debatable, but there is definitely a culture surrounding how not to disturb those around you. However I don't think it's as self-sacrificing as some romanticists would like to believe, I think its just a result of the acknowledgement that everyone is better off if everyone follows that code. It's selfish, and very effective.
A lot of things here seem more effective than I to what I am accustomed. Many things are so systematic. The bike culture amazes me. Today I rode for the first time long distances, and it was great. I also got the bike fixed up from its sad state of disrepair for only210! I think the guy might have felt bad for me because I clearly only understood parts of his explanations of what was wrong with the bike, and I was clearly frazzled. (I had walked a mile with the bike to pump the tires, only to get on and on and find that the pedals didn't work the wheels)
|Here the sucker is. She's a cutie.|