Over the past couple of weeks as we’ve revisited many of the places that we enjoyed during our year in Japan and explored a few new ones, I’ve been reminded how fortunate we were to live where we did. Funabashi is part of the greater Tokyo area but our students often referred to it as the countryside. To those of us who are used to the wide open spaces of the Canadian prairie, it is extremely urban but compared to the crowds and bustle of Tokyo proper, it’s definitely more peaceful. I loved being close enough to enjoy time in Tokyo but was always glad to return to the relative calm of our quieter neighbourhood.
Last night we had supper in downtown Tokyo with a friend from church who chooses to commute two hours to and from work each day in order to enjoy living in Chiba which is even further out than Funabashi. In addition to the more peaceful lifestyle, lower housing costs also draw people away from the city centre. We’ve been told that it costs less to rent an apartment in Funabashi than a parking stall in downtown Tokyo!
This week we’ve both immersed ourselves in the heart of the city and sought out quieter spots. It’s actually quite easy to do both. The day before yesterday, we walked through the bustling shopping districts of Harajuku and Shibuya and crossed the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection but we also strolled the wooded grounds of Yoyogi Koen. Today we revisited a smaller park in the area where we lived. I love the vibrancy of the world’s largest city but I’m glad I didn’t live in the middle of it. I also need time in more tranquil places.