A slower paced post for once to show you a bit of the neighborhood I live in. I currently live with my host family in Kadoma, Osaka. It is one of the quieter and peaceful city that is somewhat “far out there” (some of the Japanese students haven’t even heard of this city) but thanks to Japan’s excellent public transportation service, I can still conveniently get around to the main cities easily.
I live in a highly residential area so there are lots of apartment complexes and houses in the area. Supermarkets, local shops, drug stores, clinics and bus station is within easy walking distance right out on the main road.
The local shopping area in the neighborhood… and no, they are not taking the day off. Sadly, most of them are actually out of business with a few remaining like a rice shop, a couple of restaurants, a bike shop, a tiny meat shop, and a tea shop. Living in this neighborhood for the past 40 years, my host mom told me how she remembers when all these shops were still in business and that everyone knew each other very well. Enter big corporations with their cheap prices and the rest is history…
The bus station closest to my house. Bus stations are somewhat far apart here which is really nice as that means less frequent stops so you can get to where you want faster. One of the things that is really telling about Japan’s aging population is that after the morning commute, it is very common to find all the passengers on buses are seniors. There are days I get to go to school later in the day and I would be like the only person under the age of 50 in a full bus.
Walking along the main road. Yes, that is a car dealer and that is exactly how big it is around here. Even a 7-11 is bigger. It doesn’t matter though because customers can order and customize their car and come pick it up later – anything to save space.
Bike shops are very popular and you can usually pick up a used one for as little as 3000 yen. Some international students who are staying in Japan for a year can sometimes get lucky and take over the bike from their fellow international students who are only staying for one semester. Keep that in mind and make good friends if you plan on studying abroad.
Easy walking distance to a supermarket mall of sorts where one can buy groceries, clothes, toys, and practically anything you need to live. Then you have the obligatory pachinko places as well. While this city offers very little in the sort of entertainment that the big cities offer, I find it very comfortable and easy to live here. Very convenient to get around and everything you need for your daily needs.
I guess one of the main reasons why this part of the city has heavy automobile traffic despite being so quiet is probably due to the fact that it is near two major highways, the Kinki Expressway and the Second Keihan Expressway.
Speaking of freeway, here’s the south part of town where the freeway runs along. Freeways are so cool in Japan… they have these shields all along the way to block the noise so people living near it can sleep in peace. Furthermore, Japan’s roads are soooo smooth!
Nothing much in this part of town except fields and scarecrows. This is the way I take to walk to the subway station. It is really peaceful and quiet here even though it is right beside the freeway. Perfect place for a relaxing stroll.
Namihaya Dome, an indoor sports arena right across from the Kadomaminami subway station.
One of the rare occurrences where there is a pedestrian sidewalk. The red area is supposedly for bikes and that yellow strip is ribbed with bumps for the blind to follow. What a considerate idea!
I didn’t really notice this all that much but Japan has A LOT of cables hovering above throughout the whole city. And here is my favorite ramen joint :D
There’s a Honda dealer here too and it is bigger than the Suzuki dealer earlier… but not by much.
Get off the main road and you’re left walking alongside oncoming/passing cars that are just inches away from your arm. It sounds terrible but I have gotten used to it. After a month, I realized that car drivers are more afraid of you than you of them; they will eat into the other lane if possible to give you as stay as far away as possible from you. It’s really no big deal for either side as long as you are not walking directly in the middle of the lane.
Fall is persimmon season and besides eating it fresh, Chinese and Japanese people also like it dried. I walk around and find many families, including my host parents, also dry their own persimmons as well. Just string them together and hang them on the balcony with your laundry for weeks and you’re good! Persimmon is 柿 kaki in Japanese.
Fire trucks in Japan are half the size of those in America o_o
This is Owada station I go to take the train to school after getting off of the bus. My daily commute goes as follow: ~5 minute walk to bus stop, ~10 minute bus ride, ~20 minute train ride, ~20 minute walk to campus. So it takes me roughly an hour to get to school everyday. I know it sounds horrible but it was surprisingly easy to get used to and do after just the first week. That is because the public transportation is excellent here; the bus and train always come on the dot and I can usually connect one to the other without waiting for more than 5 minutes in the morning. The only gripe I have with this station is that since it is one of the smaller stations, only the “Local” train stops here and I have to get off at another station if I want to take a faster train like the Limited Express. This station must be either relatively new or relatively irrelevant compared to other stations because it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps!
So that’s the part of town I live in and the part that I frequent. I’ll admit that I somewhat dreaded this place when I first moved in because it was so far away from school and just about everything else but soon enough, I came to really like living here. It’s ideal for peaceful living and it turns out to be closer to the main city of Osaka than I thought (only about ~30 minutes away) which is great because that saves me on transportation cost since trains charge by the distance here. So if I want to go somewhere to have fun, I can with relative ease. Most importantly, this city provided me something that I’ve always wanted – the actual living in Japan experience.