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Sunday, July 13, 2008

日本の電車・日本の文化 Japanese Trains, Japanese Culture

新幹線、田舎の電車、朝ラッシュの電車など、日本の文化の違いが電車においても現れています。でもどんな電車に乗っても交通した一つの文化の面が見えます。それは、どこへ言っても、日本人は時間をちゃんと守っていることです。僕は五年間にここに住んでいる間に遅れる電車まだ見たことありません。 すごい…。

Culture and lifestyles are not the same everywhere in Japan, there are many sides. There are places with a lot of history, and there are places where the latest technology is being used. But where ever you go in Japan there are trains. And by taking a closer look at these trains you can better understand the many sides of Japanese culture.

Let’s look at the Shinkansen (bullet train) first. Japanese society is connected by the Shinkansen. Moreover, if you are crossing the country, there are times when it is faster to take the Shinkansen then it is to take a plain. By boarding a Shinkansen you can see the high level technology side of Japan.

If you’re going to the cities the Shinkansen is great, but if you are going to the country you’ll have to use an ordinary train. When you do this another side of Japan will reveal itself. In the Japanese country side there are very few people so the trains are pretty plain and many times only consist of one car. But if you board a train in the country you can get a nice leisurely view of Japans beautiful natural landscape.

Finally, most Japanese use a train for commuting. Therefore if you look at a train during rush-hour you will see it full of an unbelievable amount of people. So many, that the station attendants have to shove in the last few people. They look like a can of sardines. So if you ever ride a train at rush-hour in Japan you will see the strong endurance side of Japan.

Shinkansens, Countryside trains, Rush-hour trains, etc. Japans many cultural differences are reflected in it’s trains. But whatever train you board there is one thing that is always the same. That is wherever you go Japanese are very particular about time. I’ve been living here for five years and I’ve never seen a late train yet. That’s impressive…

…Bla! I almost didn’t post this after translating it into English, my writing is so bad. The problem is I try to write these things in Japanese first, and my Japanese level is probably the equivalent of a elementary school child (with considerably less vocabulary). …but I did go to all the trouble of drawing a picture, which turned out all right, so I guess I‘ll make you suffer…