I remember using trains a lot when I lived in Japan. It was nothing for me to ride for a couple hundred miles in a day. I never had a chaperone, just me, 6 years old going to points unknown all by my lonesome. There were times where I would disappear all day long, only to return home for dinner. I was very self-confident and never felt in danger travelling on my own. I knew the money and spoke fluent Japanese. It was pretty obvious being the object of everyone’s stares, but I just smiled and started talking with them.
One salient memory is of all the people squished into the boxcars. They were all wearing masks. There was no pandemic; it seems like masks were worn everywhere except out at the beach or in the mountains. My brother told me that people wore masks to remind them of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It sounded lame then and I found out later it was indeed lame. The bombs were dropped sixteen years previously.
Who knew it would look the same sixty years later?
Everyone’s wearing masks again. All over the world.
I once interviewed for a chef position for a luxury Executive express and it was a real challenge to put out 4-course French meals from a 140 sq. ft. moving kitchen. The very cool thing about it was you knew exactly how much to prepare (no waste) and the tips were enough to make me think twice. The only thing that caused me an issue was keeping my balance as I carved sushi with my super-sharp knives. I aced the interview but didn’t feel there was much room for growth in the company so I passed. Besides the “luxury quarters” provided with the job was only slightly bigger than the kitchen. Truly a case of “money isn’t everything” when it comes to choosing a job.
Go to Europe. You will get hooked on train travel. They seem so much cleaner and more efficient than their American counterparts and you can get to absolutely anywhere on the continent. You haven’t lived until you take the lazy little train that winds slowly through UNESCO Village.
I love trains that are open or have those huge windows for sightseeing. It is the ultimate Disneyland ride.
Trains have a slew of movies using them as a centerpiece. Murder on the Orient Express, The Taking of Pelham 123, and Runaway immediately come to mind and of course you can’t forget the hilarious train scenes from Trading Places. Icebreaker. Brrr.
But my favorite train of all-time (and my wife’s favorite) is….drum roll please…….one of the very few things we both agree on…..
The Polar Express.
I am ready for Christmas.
She is not.