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Back From France

I arrived back from France late last night. My butt is killing me, having sat on the train 24+ hours (each way). It saddens me that so many people look at me as if I am crazy to take the train when flying on one of the discount airlines in Europe is so cheap in the short term. They, of course, are either not taking into account the long-term environmental costs, or (less likely I think) just don't care.

Before I get too high and mighty about sacrificing my time and money because the cheaper, quicker option is so much worse for my hypothetical children however (I bring it up because so many people have asked why I took the train, and also because I hope it helps other people to make the right choice if they know that they are not the only ones sacrificing), I have to confess that all my values and convictions flew out the window while I was there. I had me some of the best (and only) beef I have had in quite a few years. The restaurant didn't have any vegetarian options, so I figured if I can't be a vegetarian, I might as well be a raw-foodist. A big pile of raw beef, topped with a raw egg... I generally am not impressed with beef, but mmmmmm was that good. Lucky for the world I didn't grow up in France, or I would be having that three times each day my whole life.

Likewise, Awii and Klee wouldn't be at all happy about how much I enjoyed the foie gras (fattened duck liver through force-feeding).

It probably sounds quite snobbish, but I just can't figure out how we in the US became so desensitized to flavor and what could perhaps be considered quality, (or lack of it) in our food. Even the regular-joe coffee (again, breaking one of my rules) was amazing.

Anyway, I had a great time, had some great food, got to see great friends from Japan, and took hundreds of not-so-great photos. I will have the rest of the photos on the site sometime in the next few weeks.

Comments about Back From France

Kevin, this is Masami (Dave's girlfriend). I got your website address from Kumiko-san and I just wanted to tell you that the pictures you took are great! I really enjoyed them all and I'm really looking forward to seeing more coming pictures!
Hope you've already got over the 'butt pain'...

I'll talk to you later..

Masami

Posted by: Masami at October 19, 2004 05:50 PM

Hi Kevin -
Dave here, I also like the pictures you posted and look forward to the next batch.
But, I have to ask you, how was that train powered for your 24 hour travel to France? And, can you be sure that the 24 hour train trip is more environmentally friendly than a 2-3 hour flight? Was the train electric? Where was the electricity coming from? Unless it was hydro-electric, solar or wind power - I don't think it was very environmentally friendly.
I only raise the question - not because I doubt your good intentions - but I think it is an interesting angle.
Talk with you soon,
Dave

Posted by: Dave DeBlois at October 19, 2004 06:35 PM

Dave,

I don't have any specific figures for my specific train journy, but there are many such studies about train vs plane in gereral. Plane does not fair well when considering the amount of energy used per person to transport them the given distance.

Of course, the longer the distance transported, the more efficient it gets, but it is still not so great. I have wondered also about effects of sending a package by boat (takes over a month) from Japan to Sweden, or sending it by air (takes only a day). Does the airplane use as much resources in one day as those consumed by the boat in a month? It seems counterintuitive, but
the gererally, yes, it does compared to kilogram/kilometer. I will look for some reports that are on the web to link to.

Posted by: kevin at October 19, 2004 10:42 PM

Hi Kevin,
Hmmmmm, you're right. There must be some consideration taken for travel distance, number of people transported for each mode (train or plane), etc. I have not had much time to look for information on the web. If you know of some link, please let me know.
There is not much choice when trying to leave Japan but it might be interesting to consider for shorter distances.

Enjoy -
Dave

Posted by: Dave at October 21, 2004 05:12 PM

Hi Kevin,

It make a long time I didn't come to your web site.
It's great I have to take a full day sometime just to enjoy all this. I think like Masami that your picture are great !! I look forward for the rest. About your train trip I thought that at least it was confortable inside... I just have a question you will allways use train to visit Europe ?

Jerome

Posted by: Jerome at October 22, 2004 07:08 PM

Jerome,

I will always try to travel by train if I have the choice. Obviously I can'T travel by train to the US, so I have to fly, but within Europe or Japan, yes, I will.

Posted by: kevin at November 13, 2004 08:56 AM


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