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Posts Tagged ‘trains’

I have been away from Japan so long that my “Japanese common sense” must be at least a bit off.

Last time I was in Japan I noticed a big sign at a subway station, “Women Only(女性専用車) “  on the platform indicating where the train car for women only stops.   I figure this is a good thing as apparently those perverts who grope women in sardine packed trains are still prevalent and these “women only” cars are to protect women, right?

Meanwhile, I have also seen parking spots in some parking structure at a department store in Yokohama marked, “Ladies Only”.  The few spots marked as such were wider than others and located near the walkway bride connected to the store building.  Does this mean they (whoever they are) are saying women drivers need more space to park and can’t walk too far?  Shouldn’t these spaces be marked rather as “handicapped” (although “handicapped” is also very P.IC)?  Or are they actually saying “ladies” are synonymous to “handicapped”?  Huh?

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Kenny on Keihin Tohoku Line (京浜東北線に乗るケニー)

Kenny on Keihin Tohoku Line (京浜東北線に乗るケニー)

Kenny, my now husband, went to Japan for the first time almost 8 years ago to meet my terminally ill father.  We stayed at now gone Yokohama Prince Hotel (横浜プリンスホテル) right over Isogo Station (磯子駅), which had always been my station when I lived there.

When I was a child, Isogo was the terminal station for Keihin-Tohoku Line (京浜東北線). I remember Isogo Station in the 60’s when it was the only prominent building in our small town.  It always gave me a sense of something far away.  The train tracks that extended from there led to all kinds of unknown places.  Our town had grown tremendously since then, and a lot has changed.   The line was extended sometime during the 70’s to Yokodai (洋光台) then eventually to Ofuna (大船), which connects with a few other lines.    Meanwhile, there were numerous high-rise condominiums (we used to call them , “mansions [マンション]”) built around the station, and the population grew exponentially within a few years in early 70’s.

During high school, I commuted on this train south to Konandai (港南台).  Then during the couple of years at the Kanda Language School in Tokyo, I took train from Isogo everyday for an hour one-way.

I don’t miss the ride in the rush hour crowd, but I do miss being able to ride trains to get to places especially because I live in Los Angeles, where you would have to make an extra effort to utilize the public transportation system.

For Kenny, who come from Chicago where public transportation is also very well established, it was the most interesting part of his trip riding those commuter trains and see some interesting characters around him….  well, including himself.

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