Blast from the Past

A white concrete building that looks more like a hospital than a school.
A school yard full of kids playing on rusty swing sets and jungle gyms, kicking a ball around on a dirt field.
A classroom with 40 students that gets so frigid in the winter, kerosene gas heaters are brought in. As for the hot humid summer? Open the windows and fan yourself with your notes.

Would you believe this is a typical school in Japan, home of countless electronic and car companies and by all measures one of the most advanced countries in the world?

One of the strangest part of living in Japan is the feeling that I’m not only in another country and culture, but in another time. It’s like the late 50’s early 60’s America that never really existed except in movies and TV shows. People leave their car going when they run into the convenience store for a drink. Many women wear their quintessential “mom-aprons” during all waking hours. Train workers wear white gloves and department store employees wear funny little hats. Phones still have cords, people still hang their laundry, and there’s still cigarette vending machines on every corner. Japan is a strange place.