My Journey to Work

A few years ago a good friend of mine asked me to contribute to a Facebook project she had devised called My Journey to Work.

At the time I commuted by bicycle every weekday, rain or shine, and as it happened, was in the middle of a stint at the furthest of the five schools at which I work (at the moment I am commuting to the closest, which is within walking distance).

The journey of eleven kilometres took around thirty minutes, and along the way was a mixture of farmland, factories, roads, railway lines, and housing. There was nothing revelatory to see and I produced no photographic masterpieces, but the views give a nice idea, I think, of the landscape in and around a typical Japanese town.

The above is a milestone, probably very old and still standing — albeit on a concrete base — next to a busy crossroads.

Rice fields in winter, dry and dormant.

It costs more in tax to own a vacant lot than an abandoned house, which is one of the reasons many are left to rot instead of being demolished.

Beneath the Jōban Expressway.

In Japan you are never far from a drinks machine.

The area where I live is famous for its swans, who spend their winters here before returning north.

In Japan you are never far from a concrete works.

Winter fruit (these, I think, are a variety of plum) are one of the things that lend the landscape some colour.

Roadside shrines such as this are often memorials to fatal car accidents, and this one is at the apex of a ninety-degree corner. I have always assumed a misguided motorist came a cropper here, perhaps ending up in the vineyard beyond.

A traditional haystack of rice plant stalks. With few farm animals to feed in Japan, these are used for things like laying on the ground to protect watermelons and pumpkins as they grow.