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Commuting & Reflections

May 6, 2008

I think it’s time for some global comments about Tsukuba itself.

Well, frankly, it’s a strange city. With a population of about 200.000, it’s definitely not large by Japanese standards. Partly countryside scenery, partly pretty large streets, often with 2 or 3 lanes. Many green places, this nice pedestrian path (which most of today’s pictures are from – it makes fun using it to commute to and from university). Many new buildings, often architecturally interesting. On every second sign, you can read “Tsukuba – Science Town”, so that’s the city’s self-image, maybe (and that’s just my guess) since the Expo took place here in 1985. Accordingly, there are two universities and lots of research institutes (the numbers largely depend on your source, varying between 50 and 300). Well, it’s an interesting mix. The city definitely doesn’t hold the flair of Kyoto, but then again, probably no other city does. I’m a bit spoiled from living in Kyoto ^_^ (well, scratch the “a bit” part), but the comparison is really unfair. Yet, I can say that I’m quite happy here, too, without a doubt.

Trivia: Tsukuba is one of the very few towns in Japan with the name officially written in hiragana (phonetic signs) as つくば. However, the university, Mount Tsukuba, and so on use the kanji (ideographic characters) version, 筑波. Oh, and just for the sake of completeness, Kyoto is written as 京都.

I just realized that today’s entry doesn’t really include thoughts about the “commuting to and from university” part, as promised in the title. Well, that’s what the pictures are for. After dealing with my apartment and the university in the first two posts, I thought it fitting to include some photos of the way between them, to round off the picture, since it’s part of my daily life. At least until the rainy season sets in ^^.

(Today’s pictures are all taken on the way from my apartment to university – except the last one, of course.)

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