There were trains before planes.
The first trains were big, lumbering, uncomfortable, dark,slow, and were powered by men shoveling coal to heat water and using steam to turn gears and wheels. Train tracks were wide and it took the help of thousands of Chinese immigrants to lay track from one side of the American continent to the other.
Modern trains are sleeker, well lit, aerodynamic, fast.
Waiting for the Number 8 in the Narita Airport,we commuters stand at our proper pick up spot.
There are no bright colors or street performers, just business as usual.
When my train stops and a door opens, I step inside and take a seat, hope I haven’t gotten on the wrong slow boat to China. As we make more stops,new passengers, that have no seat, grab rings hanging from the ceiling with one hand, hold their purse or suitcase with the other.
Younger passengers play video games, older passengers read newspapers. People talk in Japanese and, to them, I am an American tourist making a connection, which is true.
The ride from one airport to the other is two hours through Japan countryside and cities.
The streets and countryside are well swept, the architecture a mix of old Japan and new.
We whisk past multistory, modern, steel and glass apartments as well as ancient Japanese temples that have survived modern destructive wars with unimaginable consequences.
My commute reaches the Haneda Airport and I grab my carry on bag. I have four hours to get from one airport to the other, get my boarding passes, get to the right gate, and two and a half of those hours are already eaten up in transit.
Japan has captured my attention.
I want to take Godzilla to a Sumo wrestling tournament, but I’m not about to buy him a drink.