First day of school! The school supplies, the new uniforms, the 75-minute each way commute….
The kids’ are attending St. Maur International School, an international Catholic school in Yokohama. Yokohama is the next city over from Yokosuka, where Mark works. We decided to live closer to the kids’ school than Mark’s work, and the plan was to have our house before school started. So much for that plan. Instead, the kids started school today while we are still in temporary lodging on base. That meant a 75 minute commute each way on crowded trains. Welcome to Japan, kids!
It started out fine on the deceptively-empty platform at Yokosuka-chuo station. I copied the train schedule ahead of time and we made it on the 6:35AM train as planned. Mark assured us that we would have seats since the train was so early. Mark was wrong.
So after 40 minutes of the classic Japanese train sandwich, we got off at Yokohama station and found our transfer point for the next train. I checked and double checked that the train was going in the right direction. Onward!
The train traveled one stop, and everyone got off the train on one side while crowds waited at the doors on the other side. I immediately recalled the words of our Inter-Cultural Relations instructor during orientation: If everyone gets off the train, then you get off the train, too. Then she said it again.
I stayed on the train.
The other doors opened and everyone rushed onboard and started running–and I mean running–for seats. Tessa loudly declared, “It’s like musical chairs!”. I scowled at her, but she was right. I’ve never adults move like that for seats. Then I looked up at the Next Station sign and saw that the train was heading back to Yokohama, the station we just came from. That’s right. The train went one station, discharged everyone, picked up a new load of passengers, and returned.
I yelled at the kids and got us off the train.
So we wandered the platforms and found the next train that continued in our desired direction. The rest of the trip (bus ride) was uneventful. I delivered the kids to their classrooms and snapped a few photos. Tessa was happy to oblige; Cy, not so much. Then I left and reversed the journey back to Yokosuka to meet Mark and the realtor for lease signing.
Afternoon pick-up was slightly less exciting. Instead of taking the train from Yokosuka again, Mark and I drove to the new house in Yokohama for a walk-through with the realtor and owner. From the house I figured out the bus-walk route to school to pick up the kids. We returned to the house, unloaded what we had in the car, then headed back to Yokosuka for homework and a celebratory round of sushi from the sushi-go-round. And no, we didn’t steal anyone’s food this time.