Today involved a late start to the morning due to the late night and hangover the day before. I had to meet my friend in Tokyo to catch the 2:30 Shinkansen to Nagoya city. I didn't even get out of bed till around 10:30 but did manage to get out of the house around 11:30 and head towards my destination with some time to spare. On the way my friend asked me if I was able to make the 1:30 train and as luck would have it I was just arriving in Tokyo around 1 pm.
The Shinkansen was one of the things I was really excited about when coming to Japan. The trains are rather well known outside of the country already but I have held a long interest in trains since childhood times.
I ended up boarding and catching up with my friend a few stations down before taking off towards Nagoya. We ended up chatting a good deal of the way but the subtleties of some of the culture as well as the general train experience were not lost on me. The smoothness of it all comes off so passive that you don't even realize you've accelerated to close to 300km/h. You do notice some of the other details though, the cleanliness, the quiet and polite demeanor of the atmosphere on the train as well as the almost excessive leg room.
I really enjoyed the trip there and it almost entirely flew by.
Nagoya on the other hand knocked me off my footing a little. This is a city where I began to feel a bit out of place. Walking the streets you begin to catch some prejudices that you may not catch in Tokyo. Anywhere you go there are generally people trying to get you to come into restaurants, hostess bars or other establishments. In Tokyo, just like everyone else, I was advertised to, regardless of whether I spoke Japanese or not. In Nagoya I started to catch a lot of those people avoiding me when I walked by. In a sense this was almost nice as I don't much care for getting stopped every few steps but at the same to,e it begins to make you really feel separated from the people around you. If I accidentally crossed paths with someone in Tokyo they would still say excuse me or even acknowledge it. Here in Nagoya it wasn't the case. I was trying to get to an elevator at one point and nobody stopped to hold the door from closing.
By all accounts these are very small forms of passive prejudice but as an outsider, you begin to feel even more so like one when you catch them. It's not something I take particularly personally but it's having an effect on me having the courage to get the shots I want and it's something I'm really starting to contend with on a psychological level.
I spent the rest of the evening meeting up with a friend, having some drinks and going out to try some Korean food. To be honest, following that I did not have too strong of a desire to walk around during the evening for the sake of getting more pictures.