Category: Op-Ed

October 2nd, 2003 by Masato Hasewaga

Commuting to the Office in Tokyo

An eight-car train is sliding into the platform, making a deep, hollow sound. Here I arrived a few minutes ago to catch this very train. It is still early. My eyes demand sleep in earnest. I rub them slowly. I can see some fifty other people on the platform, also waiting for the train. There are several children in school uniform, but most of the people appear to be office workers from the way they dress. Their dark suits glow in the heated morning light of August. The train comes to a halt, and the doors open. No one gets off. I step into the train and then look at my watch. It is 7:15 in the morning.

To reach my office, I take the Odakyu Line, one of many commuter trains connecting Tokyoís suburbs and the Shinjuku Station, Japanís busiest used by more than three million people a day. Each morning, hundreds of thousands of office workers and students take this line to migrate into the heartland of Tokyo. And for them, the cityís extensive network of trains and subways provides by far the most convenient and affordable means of transportation. But during the morning and evening peak hours, taking trains and subways is probably the least comfortable way to commute. They simply become overcrowded.

But at 7:15, it is not yet painful. I leave early to bypass the peak hours. All the seats are taken, but I can still find myself sufficient and comfortable space to read a book, or just to become lost in contemplation. The train is already on the move. It makes constant and industrial rhythms. I rub my eyes again. I stand by the left side door and look out the window. The train runs through residential areas, and familiar roads and houses greet me every morning. They do not change often, but they have expressions. Today, over one balcony of a deep red four-story apartment, a white futon is already hung and aired in the morning sun. Read more of this article »

Posted in Japan, Op-Ed

October 2nd, 2003 by L. Rivera

“The River Rue
“offers quiet beauty to campers traveling through the back roads of Eastern Washington”

I grew up in an R.V. park. Not a trailer park, an R.V. park.
R.V., as in Recreational Vehicle, not mobile home.

Just so we are clear. This is a very important distinction, especially to me. An R.V. Park is for camping, vacation, family fun. A trailer park conjures up images (not always fair or accurate) of poor unintelligent people living in dirty trailers on a sectioned lot with a couple three-legged dogs running around.

Located in Washington State one mile from Lake Roosevelt, fourteen miles from the nearest town, two hours from the nearest place worth being, five hours from Seattle. Weekend fun was a keg in a field if you were popular enough to be invited (which most of the time I was not). I began working for my parents at the age of three and stopped at the age of twenty. What can a three-year old do you might ask? Well in my (and my sisterís) case we picked up trash for a penny a piece and received a nickel for each pop can. By the time I left, I was running the place when my parents were gone, and was the second ranking employee (my mom was the first).

I have a lot of stories from growing up in an RV park. I donít know if they are interesting to anyone but me, Iíd like to think they are. Of course, we all like to think our lives are interesting. So, in order to intrigue you, I give you ìThe life-threatening situation involving my dad and drug addled campers!î

To understand my story, and anything else I ever tell, you need to know two things. Read more of this article »

Posted in Op-Ed, USA