Saturday, September 22, 2012

Escape and Automobile (This week's Photo Hunt themes)

Late last month, I temporarily escaped from my usual Hong Kong routine by venturing to Japan for a too short -- but still fun-filled -- vacation. Over the course of my holiday, I took rides on a variety of vehicles.  For example, on my first full day of my recent Japan vacation, I not only rode on trains that ran above ground and as part of subway lines but also crossed the Edogawa (Edo River) on Yagiri no Watashi, Tokyo's last human-powered ferry ride.  And on a day trip to Hakone, I was transported around the area via Japan's oldest mountain railway, cablecar, ropeway and "pirate ship" as well as far more regular bus.

Furthermore, the day after my Hakone excursion, I took a ride on Tokyo's last remaining streetcar line. The Toden Arakawa Line operates for the most part outside of "touristy" areas and rides along its 12.2 kilometer long route offer up downtown neighborhood views of the Japanese capital city. 

As you can see when looking at the top two photos of this entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts, the streetcars themselves come in different "editions" -- with some looking more modern and others more vintage.  With regards to the second photo: can you also see the automobile in the background?  I sure hope so because, as funny as it may seem to some people, I actually didn't take all that many photos that have cars, vans or such other road-bound vehicles while traveling around in the land of Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and co! 

Indeed, when looking this morning at the hundreds of photos I took on my recent Japan escape, I found a grand total of just three photos with automobiles in them -- and in none of them were they the focus of the shot! Instead, the focus in the two photos that feature automobiles that I've included in this blog entry have been on other modes of transportation that this public transportation enthusiast frankly finds more attractive and fascinating: in one case, a Toden Arakawa streetcar; and in the other, one of Tokyo's numerous railways -- some of which go right through the city's streets. 

Perhaps it's because I come from a country whose public transportation leaves a lot to be desired and also have moved about the world quite a bit.  But I cannot emphasize how much I really appreciate and love places with great public transportation systems.  So yes, it's not entirely coincidental that I now live in a part of the world with a great public transportation system (and network) -- and choose to have vacation escapes in places where it's also easy enough for people to get around without needing to use private automobiles, and even taxis! :b


EastCoastLife said...

Your Japan trip is so cool and I learnt about stuff not found in the travel guides I bought.

I am planning an escape to Japan, probably Hokkaido for the snow later this year. Whew!

Vicki said...

Currently my daughter and grand-daughter have escaped to Japan from Australia. They are on a sister-school exchange. My daughter is a parent-helper

My escape is at

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, great photo collection for this week's theme. When I go on a trip I love using trains, subways and other types of cool public transportation (bus being the least favorite), especially because I drive so much here. I have really enjoyed reading about your recent trip to Japan. Thanks so much for sharing.

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

whether they talked or not, most often than not, sandi's and gattina's themes work/blend well together. japan sounds very tempting.

Mar said...

I love trains. I rely on public transportation to go into the city,need my car for short the store :) Happy weekend!

photo hunts

YTSL said...

Hi EastCoastLife --

I'm glad to be providing you with info that's not in the travel guides. Re Hokkaido: I've been to -- but only in summer. Do feel free to check out my old entries on visiting Sapporo! :b

Hi Vicki --

Hope your daughter and grand-daughter are enjoying their time in Japan. :)

Hi Trekcapri --

Thanks for your comments -- and keep on visiting. Have about one more week of Japan trip blog entries to go before I go back to focusing on Hong Kong. :)

Hi ewok1993 --

Re Sandi's and Gattina's themes: must admit that I wish that Gattina's theme this week had been a more open "vehicle" than the more specific "automobile" but... yeah, have to say that I do for the most part enjoy the double challenge posed by them. :)

Hi Mar --

I love trains too. As for needing a car: I live in the city... and the nearest grocery store is just 5 minutes walk away, so don't need a car -- hooray! :)

Gattina said...

I am not a car fan neither, but it's very useful in my case !

Sue St Clair said...

I am a big supporter of public transit too! Japan seems to be a leader in mass transit.

I love our street cars in Toronto and hope they keep them going for a long time yet! Great post :)

Carver said...

Great post for the theme. I love the public transportation available in large cities I've been to and also the convenient train travel I've experienced in Europe. The public transportation available where I live is very limited although there has been talk of a light rail system to link the triangle area towns where I live. I hope it becomes a reality.

YTSL said...

Hi Gattina --

I recognize that there are some places where cars are needed. I'm just glad I don't currently live in such a place! :)

Hi Sue --

Japan does seem to be among the top with regards to mass transit. The last two times I visited Tokyo, I also notice how many people are bicycling about too! :)

Hi Carver --

Glad you like the post. FWIW, the US for the most part is one of the most car-loving countries I know -- with the other being my home country of Malaysia!

Mar said...

Thanks for your visit. About my cam: it's a Caplio R7. Won't buy same brand ever again...!

Ann said...

nice to have money to escape to Japan.

YTSL said...

Hi Mar --

Checked for reviews of your camera and came across this one:-

The actual review of it was great -- but in the comments section, it sure does look like lots of other people had problems with their Caplio R7s.

My first digital camera was a Ricoh and I had thought of replacing it with another Ricoh. I'm glad a couple of friends talked me out of it and that one in particular pointed me to Panasonic cameras.

Hi Ann --

Yes, it is -- and, also, that Japan is near enough to Hong Kong to qualify as not too expensive an escape. (It'd be much more expensive for me to go to, say, Europe.)

Sreisaat said...

YTSL, you are making me green with envy with your escapes to Japan! I've only been there once and want to go back again.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Sreisaat Adventures


Fantastic escapes!!!!!!

YTSL said...

Hi Sreisaat --

Sounds like it's time for you to visit Japan again -- and that I have given you ideas re where to visit and what to do on your next Japan trip! ;b

Hi Hootin' Anni --

Thank you, I'm glad you think so! :)

sbk said...

hi ytsl,

I love the public transportation in Japan. I do so much driving at home it's a treat to take trains and buses there. However I've never ridden the street car and after seeing your photo it will go to the top of my next visit to Tokyo visit.

YTSL said...

Hi abk --

I'm really happy to learn that I've given you ideas as to what else you should do, etc, when you next visit Tokyo since you've been there quite a few times already! :)

sbk said...

Hi again ytsl,

With your most recent post you've given me three more things to do on my next trip, a garden, a ride, and another temple to visit in Kamakura.

YTSL said...

Hi again sbk --

You mean my most recent posts -- as in my recent Japan trip posts after and before this one as well as this one, right? If so, thanks for checking out all of them -- and I'm glad they've given you ideas re what to do on your next visit to that country. :)

sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

Yes you are correct. I wrote the comment before my morning coffee.

magiceye said...

Wonderful post and I agree with you totally regarding the necessity of a good public transportation system.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

No worries, and I know how that is myself! ;b

Hi magiceye --

Thank you and yeah, great public transportation can be, well, great! :D