“The Day the Earth Moved,” my personal essay about the Great East Japan Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Crisis from a Tokyo expat’s perspective, will be included in Adventures of a Lifetime: Travel Tales from Around the World, an anthology from World Traveler Press. Publication date is December 15, 2014.
Weekday mornings quickly settle into a routine.
I pull a hoodie over my head as I leave home for the train station in the early morning cold.
At the kitsune temple fox I hang a left and walk roughly westward, the warming sun on my back, towards the station.
Along the way I pass a she-goat eating the bottom leaves off a “brother tomato tree,” as we call them in Japan, a persimmon tree. Garbage crows are already scoping the neighbourhood for any trash or other goodies not covered in the strong blue and yellow mesh of the crow nets.
This early in the morning, there are not so many others about, just a few salarymen in dark blue or black or grey suits, sans overcoats, hustling for the station.
Depending on the route I choose, it takes me about twenty minutes from my front door to the station if I hustle.
As I approach the station vicinity, more commuters emerge from the labyrinth of roads, apartment buildings and housing complexes. As I merge with the flow, it’s a steady stream of dark suit jackets, with the occasional splash of colour: a university student in a bright overcoat; me in a firecracker-red Ternua Primaloft jacket.
Entering Hoya station, commuters make their way though the turnstiles like salmon ascending spawning ladders.
There’s plenty of seats on my train at this time of day, heading out of the city. On the train going in the opposite direction, the busy one, into the city, the riders look like lobsters crawling over each other in green restaurant tanks.