A sign warning kids away from the outskirts of Miyakonojo Station. Shot with a Mamiya C220f.
Miyakonojo Station shows every sign of once being a much busier station than it is today. The train yard still has three platforms, but there’s far more space than that on the grounds. I don’t know if it was used to store trains at night or if there were more frequent trains heading towards the other small towns of Miyazaki-Ken and Kagoshima-Ken. Today the traffic pretty much just runs east-west between Miyazaki city and Kagoshima. One line does head north around the Kirishima volcanic mountain range towards the “cities” of Kobayashi, Ebino, and Yoshimatsu. I often wanted to take an exploratory trip to the end of that line but the every-three-hours-ends-at-dinner-time schedule turned me off of the idea.
There was another train line heading south from Miyakonojo that was discontinued in the 80s. I assume it went to Shibushi* because there isn’t much else down there. I did bike down this route one spring. A good ten kilometers of the line had been converted to a public trail for use by joggers and cyclists alike. Something similar happened here in Nova Scotia with our abandoned lines, except this one was paved for its entire length and no one would have thought it funny to use an ATV to destroy the path by spinning doughnuts.
This is why we can’t have nice things in the Maritimes.
*You know how to use Google Maps. Look these places up.
Let me begin by getting my grumbling about the pathetic state of Canada’s train system out of the way;
Stupid pathetic state of Canada’s train system. It sucks. Sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.
Okay. That having been said, the Halifax Train Station is a very lovely heritage site in the south end of the city and unlike most of the heritage sites around the city, it isn’t falling in on itself and blocking the development of much needed road and infrastructure improvements… I’m looking at you, Entirety of Barrington Street… You should visit it in the off chance you find yourself in the city.
You probably won’t find yourself there via the train platform since the Canadian train system sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.
In a week I’ll be seeing the doctor about what the barium x-ray revealed about my guts. On one hand, the radiologist got my x-ray to him within five hours of me taking it. On the other hand, his secretary told me there wasn’t any sort of emergency which is why my appointment was booked two weeks later. Doctor Google is suggesting to me that I have a big crater in my guts and a future of eating nothing but leafy vegetables and high fiber bran cereal. I’m already a 90% vegan so I guess I can put in the effort to go all the way so I don’t die before I turn fifty. But… steak!
I’ll know soon enough.
I’m still angry about a clerical error adding six unnecessary months to the process. It’s been flying along since then. On my more positive days I look around and start to think about staying. But then I wipe the stupidity from my eyes and look at the job situation here. Greying society plus a federal government that’s hostile to every province that isn’t oil-producing Alberta means Nova Scotia is dying faster than normal. There’s no future here. I’m in my 40s. My future is relatively short. Some kid in their teens is out of luck.
I’ve been slowly putting together the things needed to apply for a job in South Korea. Why South Korea since I left the place with such animosity five years ago? Rent and airfare are included as part of the contract and they hire from overseas. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m curious about how the place has changed in this time. It changed rapidly in the six years I was there. The expressway where I saw my first-of-many street fights there is now a lovely park in the middle of the city. The middle-aged men who used to cut in front of me in a line when I first arrived were being asked to wait their turn by the clerks by the time I left.
A thing about me: If I’m outraged at someone it means that I think they’re failing to live up to their potential as a human being. When I disengage from an online conversation, or block someone on FaceBook, it means that I’ve given up on them. I see them as not even worth my disappointment. Perhaps that seems arrogant. I see it as life being too short to put up with the crap of others. I’m a lot quicker to send people to the cornfield on FaceBook simply because it’s a lot easier to do so. At least until today. Today I had the misfortune of reading things written by those suffering from an obvious case of FoxNews Disease and not being able to remove them from my sight so I could focus on the rest of the discussion. Attempting to block them got me a “Not a valid profile” notice and they remained unblocked.
I’m hoping the glitch clears up soon.
The picture up above was taken with my then brand new Olympus Pen E-P3. It has a number of Instagram type filters on it. They’re all pretty useless except for the Grainy Film setting. But even that needs to be used sparingly. I’m not saying that the above image is one of the best uses of it, but it’s one of the best uses of it in my files. I’m on the Shinkansen in Osaka about to head to Kagoshima. They’re on the train heading to Tokyo. He arrived at his destination three hours before I did. I suppose if it were a race I could have flown. But flight is a shitty experience at the best of times and I feel it’s also best done sparingly.
If there was a train heading back to the lands where the “career” is, I’d take it.
I knew that there were waiting times associated with free healthcare and was prepared for it. My ultrasound appointment was made back in May. Well, it wasn’t made back in May. The doctor ordered it be done back in May but September had rolled along without a word on it. By that point I had already had several tests to see if my heart was the source of my misery. It wasn’t. My heart is good enough for you to steal, ladies. But an ultrasound to see if my other organs were broken? Nothing for months.
According to the doctor’s secretary, my booking didn’t get to the hospital and that’s why I was waiting for so long. There is much speculation as to how that happened and lacking any evidence of any sort it’s impossible to point fingers. But once the booking was actually made, I was in having warm gel rubbed on my belly within a month. *place sexual innuendo here* Once the system was actually in motion, it proceeded quite quickly.
This does anger me when I think about it. I spent a lot of time here doing nothing but spending my savings since the job market is endlessly shitty because of that “lost” booking. As the weather gets colder and the months drag on as the effort to find out what’s wrong with my guts leads to one dead end after another I’m starting to feel a bit trapped. I’m looking out the window and wishing for a passing train to take me back to my life.
My organs are fine. Some issues associated with me needing to go on a diet, but everything is working as intended. So now I need to start another round of tests and hopefully that will finally get to the bottom of things.
A third Olympus Pen photo today. It’s either this or finishing the second chapter of The Halifax Explosion.
This is Yamanokuchi Station. Yamanokuchi was one of the small towns that were amalgamated into the the city now known as Miyakonojo. Like most places with a heavy car culture, Japan’s public transportation has declined over the last few decades. Add to that an elderly population that rarely leaves their neighborhood, it’s surprising that they even bothered to leave these stations here. Most, if not all, of Kyushu’s rail system runs on a single track. Only the Kagoshima to Fukuoka then Honshu route seems to have double lines.
Yamanokuchi is pretty small, but this is not a country station. You can tell those because they’re a platform standing in front of a rice paddy. This station used to be busy enough to have a staff. Now all that exists is the ticket machine you see to the right. You’d think the building would be a good spot to wait for the train out of the rain but I think you can see the water on the floor yourself. The train conductor is the one to collect the tickets at these abandoned stations.
Miyazaki-Ken did have the problem of being somewhat isolated from the rest of Kyushu due to steep mountains and active volcanoes. And with it being off the shipping routes, not having an industry in much of anything, it was mostly ignored by the to and fro of Japanese history. That a single rail line and single expressway serves as a link to the rest of the nation isn’t surprising.
A few months before I left Japan, I was in the Yodobashi in Osaka buying a camera. The clerk was trying to get me to get their point card and I told her no thanks because I was going to leave Japan soon. She asked me where I was living in Japan so I told her Miyazaki-Ken. She paused in thought for a second as she consulted her mental map of Japan.
"Umm… Is that in Kyushu?"
The thing about the rail line is that the route between Miyakonojo and Miyazaki had regular service. A train of some sort left at least twice an hour. Four or five during rush hour. The route between Kagoshima and Miyakonojo (Miyakonojo being the midway point between the two cities) ran once an hour. If you lived between Miyakonojo and Kagoshima, you had a long wait if you missed your train.
At least they weren’t those poor bastards living in Ebino.