Thursday, June 22, 2006

HIGHWAY BUS TO KOBE

Throughout my time at Sultan Abdul Hamid College (oh no, not S.A.H.C. again), I particularly enjoyed the 'Physical Geography' class...

I somehow found excitement, reading and getting to know places far away from home...

Tucked in between the pages of the 'Japan' chapter was a photograph of the metallic-structured dockyards of Kobe port...

That image still lingers on in my memory cells...

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Had an opportunity to ride the highway bus from Takamatsu to Kobe some time ago for a seminar on international terrorism...

I found out that each time I take the highway bus here in Japan, I usually come away as impressed as I could bother to remember.

First and foremost, their punctuality...

Buses almost always arrive at the dot of time...

On occasions when they do arrive late due to traffic conditions or whatever, the driver normally apologizes profusely...

The overall condition of the bus, the windows, the aisles, etc... are pooh, so squeakily spotless...and the seats, almost crisp...

The seat belts are neatly in place, ever ready to be worn by passengers...

Plus, unlike most restaurants in Japan, strictly no smoking... (Heavenly!)

Announcements pervade much of life in Japan...

And buses, the highway types or not, are no exceptions...

The announcements regularly let passengers know what is happening...

But they do become too intrusive at times...

For example, each time a passenger embarks, the standard 'domo arigato' message...

Each time a passenger disembarks, another set of familiar 'otsukare sama deshita' recording...

When you thought this might be the end of it, the driver adds in his 'live' rendition of 'maido... '...

While all these are going on, the television monitor in the front area flashes messages urging passengers not to use hand phones onboard... to take care of their own valuables when they go to the washroom... and not to forget their umbrellas and belongings when they disembark...

Awww man...

Still, rides on the highway buses are generally smooth as fellow passengers are well behaved, minus the occasional loud-mouthed passenger on the hand phone...

As usual, that trip to and from Kobe turned out to be quite a breeze...

Impressed I remain, even after 19 years of continuous residence here in Nipponland...