died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Thursday, June 03, 2004

LA and Tokyo

As I was visiting LA last month, stuck in traffic driving from the Getty Museum, I couldn't help but be struck by the traffic. Although I don't live in the heart of it, I am living in train society. The breadth of the freeways was to my somewhat reverse culture shocked eyes, was astounding. Six lanes going both ways, I felt like a stadium could fit end to end with in the width of the freeway system. I would be winded running from one side to the other.

Driving in Fukuoka as well, and then comparing it to LA was also interesting. When I first went to Fukuoka, there is a city tollway that runs entirely above the city. While I'm used to this know, it does run through the back of my mind that Americans would never put up with this kind of freeway in the sky .

Or do they? As I was taking my cab to LAX, it shot up the commuter lane route, and as it did so, I felt like I was already back in Japan. The huge concrete pillars and trusses looming massively above the ground below suprised me. The interesting thing about culture shock, or however you would describe what I'm talking about, is that a lot of what you think only exits here does indeed exist on the other side, your side.

Anyway, yes the freeways are big and large in LA. Tokyo has it's winding networks of freeways too (all tolled , by the way, and not cheap either). If Tokyo had a getty, it would have train access. Although the museum itself is beautiful, the commute to the getty just seemed wierd to me. Yes yes, I grew up in a car culture so it's rediculous for to think that I don't know at ALL what it's like to drive to something. Still, Tokyo, and Japan in general, and it's massive network of trains, as become so second nature to me that the prospect of living somewhere with no train network (I live in one of the sparsest populated prefecture in Japan, yet I have direct train acces to our Airport.), seems odd, if not even a little scary to me. Moving back to a part of America with out the kind of train access will take some adjustment for me.


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