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2017/08/17

Imagine

Imagine a world with no borders, an Earth at peace. The entire race treating one another as Human beings, not segregated by country, religion, color, or sex.

Imagine if we were all paid three thousand dollars a month, only had to work twenty hours a week, and could go through any kind of schooling we wanted to for as long as we wanted to, for free.

Imagine an entire generation of children raised in these conditions coming to age. What would they spend their free time on? Would there be more art in the world? Would there be more science? What would they choose to become? Would we have an abundance of skilled physicians? Would they have more time to spend on research?

Imagine if that world decided it wanted to go to the Moon. Imagine if there was no price tag or budget concerns. Imagine if there were thousands of skilled professionals from all around the planet that wanted to help. How long would it take? How possible would it be?

Presently everything is bound by money, corporations, politics, and the laws of each country. Imagine what we as a people could achieve if we weren’t bound by such petty systems.

Imagine what would happen if the global annual defense budget of 1,200,000 million dollars were spent on education, healthcare, infrastructure, and public services.

“You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” -John Lennon

From Postman

2017/08/07

Subway Platform

Doai Station, the deepest train station in Japan, is at the northern tip of Gunma. One side of the Jyouetsu line for some reason starts here, 70 meters underground.

From the platform stairs stretch straight out further than you can see. In 5 tiers, the stairs number 462 steps for a total distance of 338 meters. There are 24 breaks in between the steps that eventually take you to the ticket gates.

The climb up Tanigawa Peak starts at this station, or rather at the platform. The stairs even have a famous mention in Hideo Yokoyama’s book “Climber’s High.”

Walking up the stairs will get you to the top in around ten minutes. But why not trying a dash up to the top if you’ve got the legs for it? According to “Climber’s High,” when the station was first completed climbers from around the country were dashing up the stairs with all their strength.

Whenever a train arrives a blast of a wind rushes out the from the top of stairs. That is a fun experience in itself.

The next station, in the direction of Takasaki, is Yubiso Station. This station too has a platform underground. Rather than underground you might say it’s inside the mountain. From the platform you climb up a gently sloping tunnel. The saying from Jyoumo Karuta (a Japanese card game) “The famous looping Shimizu Tunnel” is the tunnel just before this station.

After Shimizu Tunnel was completed there was only one train line, but later the New Shimizu Tunnel was completed separating the coming and going train tracks. The ride from Yubiso Station to Tsuchitaru Station in Niigata is almost entirely tunnels. Because of that, Doai Station ended up being so deep underground.

Time has since passed, and the Jyouetsu Bullet Train is now functioning. It passes through the “Big Shimizu Tunnel.” If the bullet train line had been finished a little later, the Jyouetsu line might have been cutoff at Mizukami Station, just as the Shinetsu line was cutoff at Yokokawa Station.

Gunma Prefecture has a lot of characterful train stations.

From No.258

2017/07/24

Local Takasaki Bread

How are you faring amidst these continuously hot days?

I would like to introduce a local bread found in Takasaki and throughout southwestern Gunma known as “buns bread.”

Buns bread is not like a hamburger bun, has a top layer of cookie softer than melon bread, is certainly sweet but not dry, with a crispy exterior and soft interior. The standard version has nothing special inside, but there are also “butter buns,” with butter in the middle, “an buns” with sweet bean paste in the middle, and other versions.

They are pretty high in calories, but I find myself unable to peruse any local bakery without picking one up.

You won’t easily find them wrapped up at a supermarket, but they are available at plenty of bakeries around Takasaki, so be sure to try one out next time you are in town!

From Aqua

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