A Waste of Time?
The biggest stress involved with moving out of Tokyo has been the pressure to get a car - or at least a Japanese driving license.
While Tomoe and I don't really need a car for our personal lives, my job requires the taxiing of people from their hotel to the boat-launch or trail-head. The fact that I currently can not legally drive seems to cause some major headaches for my co-workers. Of course, given the society we live in, there is no talk of "how can we make it so that we don't have to drive" rather, the talk is about "when the hell are you going to get your license?!?!"
I don't mind having the license, and there *are* rare times when even I would see it as a requirement for this job (transporting an injured client from the site to a hospital is an obvious one). Tomoe and I are even expecting to get our first automobile by the end of this month as we will need it for our own business later.
My biggest worry is that, as with the Internet, cell-phones, and any other "convenience" technologies, we will forget how to live without it. We will become dependant on it and use it when a bike would have done just as well... or better.
A few days ago Tomoe and I took a walk to the supermarket. It would have been a five minute drive, but it took us three hours round trip. Most people would not think twice about hopping in the car. In fact,the concept of *walking* that far would seem absurd - a waste of time. Yet, after the walk, the idea of driving that seems like wasted opportunity.
In the two hours it took us to walk to the supermarket, we gathered a bag-full of edible green delicacies from the forest which Tomoe cooked up for dinner that night. We discovered a line of road-side cherry trees and had our fill. We found three neglected gumi bushes - a small red slightly bitter fruit - and kuwa trees overflowing with edible delicacies. We also were able to take a short diversion to visit a friend and her son - something that was never possible in Tokyo where our closest friend lived a twenty minute train ride away.
The thing that amazed us most about all the delicious fruit we were finding was that no one else was picking it! But then, as we watched the cars speed by it wasn't really that surprising. It must be pretty hard to notice a bush full of berries at 40 mph.