time for change
This blaug of mine is headed in a bad direction. The way that I’ve been updating it and the lifestyle that I’m living do not match, and that discrepancy has been threatening to send this thing to the grave. Although the Chinese characters in the title mean “Bad Purple Poisonous Mushroom” (what, are you surprised?), I don’t mean for death to actually be creeping around here. Poisonous mushrooms are best kept alive—they can’t have been mistakenly eaten if they’re still living, see.
In the same way, as long as this blaug is alive with updates, then those reading it will know that I haven’t been mistakenly eaten, either. To make that possible, I will post less. I have been trying to include a lot of detail by writing longer entries, but that method obviously hasn’t worked. Large updates with large gaps of time in between are less interesting and less informative, I think, than smaller, more frequent updates. So unless I somehow have time to write another long entry, they’ll be shorter from now on. And starting with this entry, I’m not going to concern myself so much with pictures. If I can put them in, then great. If not, then the blaug will just continue on without them.
So here is what a typical entry might look like:
It feels good to be better at riding the trains in Tokyo than Japanese people. This morning I was standing onboard the Yamanote Line (山手線)—the most well-known line in Tokyo. I ride that line for only three stops, and along that stretch it is exactly parallel with another line, the Keihin Tōhoku Line (京浜東北線). A lot of people get off both lines at my stop, so the escalators leading down from the platform get all clogged up with suits and skirts. My goal is to avoid the jam by beating it to the escalators.
I figured out awhile ago at which doors I should stand to be closest to the escalators when disembarking: car 5, door 1 of the Yamanote Line, or car 4, door 4 of the Keihin Tōhoku Line. But I learned shortly thereafter that a successful dash at the front of the mob requires more strategizing than that. Just standing near one of those two doors won’t necessarily spare me any mob-time.
This morning I realized that the train I wasn’t on (the Keihin Tōhoku Line) would arrive at my stop first, maybe by about five or seven seconds. That was all it would take to sink me into the sea of rushing people. So at the stop right before mine, I switched trains, stepping inside car 4, door 4 right before it closed. With a triumphant grin I watched the mass of people crammed inside car 5, door 1 of the Yamanote Line, knowing that their strategy wouldn’t be enough to save them this time. Today was my victory, not theirs.
Car 4, door 4 was also crowded, but I was squished up against the door—last one on is the first one out. I knew that. Enjoying my unobstructed view out the window that was sometimes touching my nose, I relished the overall meaningless success that I was about to achieve. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. Maybe I can’t be Japanese, and maybe I don’t want to be. But I can ride a Japanese train just as well as a Japanese, if not better. As I reached the bottom of the escalators first, right when the mob would have been forming above, I was proud of my meaningless success and knew that I’d be writing about it tonight.
Tuesday, 2007 October 9