Tag Archives: Train travel

train-people (with exceptions)

traingirlThe Japanese are train-people
dog-people,
cautious-people,
well-dressed people.

These things are true-ish.
Except when they’re not.
(There are always exceptions.)

tableAt lunch
the young people
at the table beside me
are as loud as
school kids in the hall.
The man-boy snorts
when he laughs.
Our waitress smiles
at the sound.

tokyo towerBelow Tokyo Tower,
young Japanese man
on a motorbike
sings opera
at the top of his lungs.

On the train
three boys in small navy shorts
form a triangle,
two seated
one standing.
They terrorize each other
quietly.

train no headDoors open.
Sun boards the train.

Three school girls
in navy uniforms
and small bowler hats
stand in the centre of the car.
Two with hands-ful
of pink and purple yarn
and small nimble fingers.
Spiders-webs of play.

train apartments2Transferring trains
I think about the Tokyo people
who live
above,
beside
the tracks
for whom the sound of trains
is constant
as breath.

The boy beside me sleeps
his phone in one hand
a book in the other.

An elderly man
rushes off the train
to return a purple umbrella
to a sweet-faced woman
while the empathy
of passengers
holds the doors
for his return.

A guy in headphones
and a brown puffy jacket
checks his seat twice
leaving the train.

Outside Family Mart
a woman walks on shoes
like skyscrapers.

I’m almost home
when two bulldogs
in matching
red Adidas sweatshirts
nod konichiwa
with the courtesy
we
outsiders
(with exceptions)
learn living in Japan.

The train to Tokyo is my teacher

trainThe train to Tokyo
is my teacher.
I’ve seen
skyscraper shoes,
people sleeping standing up,
silver mini-skirts,
shark-bite knapsacks
and train benches blooming
with kimonos.

kimono2These rides
between Tokyo and Yokohama
are like little plays,
40-minutes dramas
sometimes
standing room
only.

trainEvery ride helps me
know Japan
a little better…
one express-train vignette
at a time.

katoA friend and I
were returning from the city
(this is how I think of Tokyo
even though Yokohama
is home to 4 million).

streetWe’d been to Azabu-Juban
and Hiro-o for the day.
A late lunch at a French restaurant
where they served our salads
in a glass

restaurantsaladAt Naka-Meguro,
the car was crowded
we were grateful to find seats.

By Kikuna Station
the aisle cleared
and I saw him.

manOh! That face.

{That’s a teddy bear
peeking out of his bag.}

The train ride
from Tokyo
makes me
tender.

Train story: Shanghai to Beijing

12346578From Shanghai to Beijing
in five hours
and 30 minutes
in the “sight-seeing car”
at the cone-shaped end
of a bullet train.

Five hours and a half
of yellow dust-scape
and,
near nowhere,
impenetrable highrises
dropped by
disproportionately large aliens
on their way home.

The reincarnation
of Mao himself
slept soundly
in the seat
beside us.

When Mao disappeared
into the dust-day,
a woman claimed
the window seat.
Mesmerized,
leaning into the view.

Perhaps she had
super-powers
to see more
than the dust
on the trip
between
Shanghai and Beijing.