Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Local Train to Matsumoto

The conductor walked the length of the train, touching the peak of his cap and bowing as he entered and left each carriage. Two old women in hiking boots passed boiled sweets to each other; the man opposite, bent forwards by the angle of his iron-hard seatback, turned another page in his book, bound in shiny brown envelope paper; people slept, their heads lolling around with the movement of the train. I folded my legs under the seat and tried my best to sleep between stations, opening my eyes to see a children's cartoon map of Fuji, persimmon trees, people dragging bikes in bags. As we pulled into Matsumoto a piped voice announced our arrival, drawing out the final syllable until we were halfway up the stairs. All around the station there were snow-capped mountains.

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