Thursday, January 17, 2008

morning commute

The boys and I are taking a city bus to school, a straight shot on the 06 along Meiji-Dori, a main thoroughfare that runs somewhat parallel to the Yamanote train line, which we could also take. It's a little faster, the train, and it's like traveling from Pelham to New Rochelle on MetroNorth-a snap. It's fighting our way out of Shibuya station that's the problem. (Imagine escorting a 5-year-old and 7-year-old through Penn Station. O.K., so that's a slight exaggeration. It's more like Grand Central.) With the bus we just hop off and go. And the boys like that the same traffic cop (well, his navy uniform jacket sports bands of neon yellow, so I'm guessing his job title) is always there to greet us with a friendly Ohayo! ("ohio," or good morning).

Our walk from the bus stop outside Shibuya station to school still takes us, if not directly through, then along the edge of one of Tokyo's busiest commercial districts (think 42nd St. and Broadway). Right now it's fun and interesting and intense, but soon the novelty will wear off and it will just be... intense. I'll need to figure out an alternative route, a back way of some kind. And when the weather is warmer, perhaps we will try taking our scooters. Many sidewalks have a barrier running alongside them, and drivers seem a lot more careful, and patient, than the ones back home. I haven't heard anyone honk in days. Perhaps the locals just bury the road rage deep down inside.

Here's one shot that shows what we see along our current route: And here the boys mock me as I try to take a portrait that shows off their uniform sweatshirts:

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