September 4, 2011


I left Hiroshima the morning after a typhoon passed and hopped on a train toward Miyajima. Hiroshima is incredibly clean and modern, with a delta that cuts the city into islands, surrounding the buildings with tidal channels that reflect the sky and skyline.

Each train line in Japan has its own distinct personalities, and the Shinkansen are no different. One sounded and felt like it had a transmission problem as it’d lurch between speeds (gears?), while another had a winding-up sci-fi whirr that would dissipate as the train approached higher velocities. Even so, travel by Shinkansen is smooth and generally quiet compared to the slower diesel and electric trains that ply the local rail lines of the Kansai and Chūgoku regions. Unlike the commuter trains of Tokyo, these rail cars lack video screens or announcements in English as to the next stops, and you can distinctly feel the clicks of the tracks as the train chugs along.

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