Friday, April 23, 2010

Commuter's Paradise

This is the view that greets me every time I leave my apartment. The other day the sky was clear and blue after a long 36 hours of rain, and the weather was such as to make the drive to work an absolute joy! People who know me know that I am not a 'car person' and don't often use the words driving, work and joy in the same sentence.  In fact, it has been over five years since I had to drive a car to work every day. I've biked to work, walked to work and taken trains to work, but I've always avoided commuting by car.

Now though, I have little choice in the matter. Indeed, my area is so spread out that I've probably been driving more miles per day recently then I have in years. However, a few things have conspired to make me more amenable to a vehicular lifestyle. Despite the occasional run in with the Jomo Electric Railway, the roads in my area are blissfully free of both traffic and stoplights. Indeed, since I'm driving from the (relatively) more urban to towards the rural, and traffic I do see is usually headed the other way.

Driving to work surrounded by such amazing views certainly helps put a smile on my face in the mornings. This is actually a road perpendicular to the one I usually travel on, but I had to pull off to get this shot, as it's rather uncommon to have this clear of a day. You can see the rugged massif of Mt. Haruna on the right, and the conical snow covered Mt. Asama on the left. Both are volcanic in origin, and while Haruna is currently dormant (though not extinct!) Asama is the most active volcano on Honshu. It isn't common to be able to see all the way to Asama, perched as it is on the boarder of Gunma and Nagano prefectures.

 This view is much more typical of my daily drive to work, facing due north towards the much closer Akagi-san. Mt. Akagi dominates the skyline of the whole area, and all four of my schools are nestled in the farming communities that dot the slopes. With the latest city mergers, Maebashi City limits actually extend all the way to the summit of Mt. Akagi, though of course the population peters out long before you get all the way to the top. So there you have it, the key to commuting glee. Throw together some sleeping volcanoes, rice paddies, the occasional cow and a distinct lack of traffic and what more could a latent petrol head desire?


Mia said...

This is another difference between Japan and China. Even in small Chinese villages you'll always see traffic.

victoriasart said...

It looks like it has the feel of Colorado outside of the metroplex.

Travelingrant said...

Yeah, I thought Japan had pretty heavy traffic most of the time too, certainly central Kanazawa was a mess of cars, buses and taxis.

It does feel a lot like Colorado in a lot of ways, though of course there are plenty of differences too!