Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Well then. (さあ。)

See, if I just keep apologizing for not posting, I'll never get anywhere.

So let's just pretend that I've been a good blogger. If everyone really makes an effort, I'm sure that the casual reader won't even notice the difference.

So, Kyoto in the rain.

Ok, not temporally accurate, but interesting nevertheless.

The main problem encountered in rain-besotted Kyoto (aside from the wet jeans and tendency towards trench foot) is the fact that surface public transportation tends to get a little... flustered.

Now, this isn't just Kyoto, I'm sure, but as I have very little experience with buses and above-ground trains in other cities, I'm just going to be sticking with what I know here.

The only 満員電車 (manin densha -- completely full trains; you know, those ones you always think of when the words "Japanese public transportation" pop up) I have ever experience have been on rainy mornings. One train runs late due to the weather (which, really, is sort of a shoddy excuse--it's not like back home where rain is something to get excited about) and then all hell breaks loose. You may be able to get a ticket at the station saying that you were late due to the failures of public transportation, but that doesn't seem to stop that salary man trying to cram into a train that reached full capacity three stations ago.

Now, luckily, as I am currently only commuting from the 宝ヶ池 (Takaragaike) area to Kyoto University, I don't have to fight a massive commuter rush, rain or no. Usually, I don't have to deal with public transportation whatsoever--I just pedal my hiney all the way down to school and back on my bike, cackling with glee whenever I pass a bus (which admittedly isn't often). Biking is, after all, the best way to go when you can manage it.

But then we come back to the rain. See, it is technically illegal to ride a bike whilst holding an umbrella. This doesn't stop most people, but as I haven't ridden a bike regularly in a good number of years, I don't quite trust myself to break this particular law without also breaking my body in any number of places. As I do not enjoy being soaked in 50-degree weather, I did what any number of stranded commuters do: I resorted to the bus.

In the morning, this was not a problem. My bus was, more or less, on time, and I got to the university with little to no hassle, unless you count a gentlemen with no sense of personal boundaries sitting next to me for the majority of the trip. But I digress. No, it was coming home, at around 6:30 in the evening, when the trouble started.

Now, as I live in a somewhat out-of-the-way (at least according to bus maps) locale, the bus I need to take only runs once an hour. Knowing this, I planned ahead, and arrived at my bus stop with a good ten minutes to spare, just in case.

Oh, ho ho, how I needn't have worried.

In Kyoto, city bus stops have little signs that, like in train stations, show you (roughly) where the bus is when it gets within three stops. As my bus was scheduled at 6:38, I started glancing up at the sign around 6:32 or so.


Any number of buses not going to my stop pulled up and left in turn--after a point it seemed like they were mocking me. 6:38, no sign of the bus. 6:40, still nothing.

It wasn't until somewhere around 6:50 that the bus even popped up on the sign, at which point I was wondering if I was going to have to wait for the 7:21. The bus it self showed up another five or so minutes later, without any indication that it was late.

Now, I recognize that buses are notorious (at least among the Japanese public transport system) for being late. There's a reason people prefer the subways and trains.

But really.

As far as I could tell, there was no problem with traffic, and the bus driver didn't seem to be particularly careful (unless he normally slammed on the brakes incredibly hard), making me a little dubious about the necessity of an almost twenty-minute delay on a once-an-hour bus.

And yet, somehow, I made it home, leading me to wonder why I bothered telling you all about this tiny adventure in the first place.

Then again, isn't that precisely why the blog was invented?

This is Edo, signing off whilst wondering if foreign-made 照る照る坊主 still work.

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