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Kobe & Tetsujin 28 [Jan. 20th, 2010|10:34 am]
Yesterday we went off to Kobe to see the lift-sized statue of Tetsujin 28. It was spiffy! Also assorted poking around in shops and suchlike. Lots and lots of walking; I was pretty knackered by the end of the day. (Also, I woke up at 5:30. That may have contributed.)

We also rode a lot of trains. I really want an awesome train system in America. (Of course, geography makes it easier to do it here and harder to do it there. But still!) I'm impressed at how clean the stations are and how smooth the ride is. I guess when everybody uses transit, there's some incentive to keep it kinda nice...

The best part of seeing the big Gigantor statue is that we stopped in the subway station on the waya back to ask an attendant if he knew where Robb might buy one of the posters they had, he just said "um, here" and pulled one off the wall for him!

We had breakfast at Mister Donut, because Greg developed a hankering. I had a chocolate-dipped green tea donut that was really, really yummy. I think in large part because it was not overly sweet.

I've been watching the architecture a lot from the trains, and it took me a while to figure out what makes the urban landscape look distinctly Japanese. Because most of the individual buildings would not look out of place in the U.S. (other than a tendency to have stairs on the outside, and to make them into design elements instead of just fire escapes). Eventually I realized that it's very simple: the buildings are all close, there's a lot of them, and nothing is only a single floor.

[User Picture]From: navrins
2010-01-20 02:42 am (UTC)
I guess when everybody uses transit, there's some incentive to keep it kinda nice...

And when transit is kinda nice, there's more incentive for everybody to use it. We kinda have a chicken-and-egg problem here in the US. Granted the geography makes cross-country rails less practical here (I've ridden it; I wouldn't do it again) but intracity transit could suck a whole lot less, as could intercity in areas like the northeast corridor.

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[User Picture]From: ng_nighthawk
2010-01-20 04:04 pm (UTC)
I want a green tea and chocolate doughnut! That sounds awesome.

Now: can I make doughnuts.....

*begin research and experimentation project #672*
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2010-01-21 08:17 am (UTC)
They are awesome! I had another one this morning.
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[User Picture]From: annlarimer
2010-01-20 05:56 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nafe
2010-01-21 06:53 pm (UTC)

The Shinkansen

Hey there, Nafe here... hope you don't mind me jumping in.

I recently traveled to Aomori prefecture and back from Tokyo on the Shinkansen "Bullet Train" SuperExpress, and completely fell in love with the service. At the speeds of around 186/mph I flew up and down the northern half of the island.

The cars themselves were clean, comfortable, and well lit, unlike almost every Amtrak train I've ever been on. Oh, also they all departed and arrived on time and didn't stop in the middle of their route for no apparent reason.

Some (very) rough calculations put travel time on such a train between NYC and Chicago at about 4.5 hours, and between Chicago and SF at about 11.5 hours. That's just a 16 hour trip cross country, which could be comfortably done on a sleeper train. Such a service is, and shall continue to be, my fervent hope.

Also, have you noticed the lack of public trash cans yet? I find it fascsinating that what we consider to be cornerstones of public hygene, are in no way necessary for maintaining extremely clean urban spaces.
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