Everyday life, mobility and … trains!

A post expressing my impressions on daily life in Japan and how the inconceivable amount of trains and their amazing punctuality makes it so much easier to be mobile and even work on the road.

Odakyu line train

Well I have been quite busy for the past months with the summer semester starting and with the aftermath of the Touhoku earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear accident and hence the total absence of posts in here. So I am starting again with a mini-post. After the first two months of panic and doomsday talk things started to settle down and with double speed since this is Japan. Classes started, albeit a month later than planned and that’s the reason we are in for a very short summer (classes go in well until mid-August). The foreigners who fled to nearby Asian countries came back. Japanese are “supporting” Touhoku with Support the north advertising campaigns. Generally … life goes on normally.

But even in this normal everyday life there are quite many exciting challenges to be faced. This semester is the hardest for me transportation-wise. I have to be traveling between my dormitory and two different campuses of my university both of which are located in the total opposite side of Tokyo, a not so small a city. The distance is about 50km from my dormitory to the campus. Japan is known for its amazing and fast transportation but still this is time and money lost. Or is it?

Japanese trains are amazing. All transportation here is done effectively by trains, going both under and above ground. They are fast, efficient, punctual but also extremely crowded in the rush hours. Here is a photo of a train on the Odakyuu line, one which I take everyday.

In my case I have to change 3 different lines. Odakyu, Chiyoda (subway) and Tsukuba express, the last of which is the most expensive and covers the biggest distance. I spend around 4 hours per day in the trains (in the worst case) and early on I decided that I had to do something to make good use of it.

The answer came when I saw a typical Japanese salary man pull out his small notebook on his way to work and coding something for a full 20 minutes. I had to try it myself too. So the very next day I took my notebook (an 11″ Macbook Air depicted below) and attempted to make good use of my time while commuting to the university.

My notebook

The results were amazing. From that day on, if I am in a good state of mind I can work and maybe even “get into the zone” for a good 50 minutes while commuting to and another 50 while commuting back from the university. I can not stress enough how much this has actually increased my productivity. Everyday a lot less time is going to waste.

What’s my point with this post? Well I am simply stating that with proper planning and thinking one can fine-tune his life’s daily schedule so that he/she becomes a lot more productive in his/her work. Why don’t you try apply this way of thinking into your day?

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