Even though I live in a suburb of Tokyo and work in a rural school district, I don't feel so cut off from a "larger" world as I did when I grew up in a rural town in Ohio, and went to college in a disintegrating working class city of Ohio either. I'm forty five minutes by train from Tokyo. This December, I'm going to visit Bangkok, Thailand. I take trains around Japan all the time, to visit different areas of the country. There is greater access to movement here than there was in Ohio. America is not a railway country. But I've come to love living in a country where the train is the dominant form of travel. It's given me a different perspective on time and space and what is reachable. So much so that I sometimes forget the smallness of the town where I grew up in Ohio. Don't get me wrong. I loved growing up there and wouldn't change it for anything. It had as many rewards to balance each negative aspect I encountered. But it is night here in Japan and I just had to contact my mother about some contractual things she is taking care of for me back in the states, and I had to reach her at the school where she teaches, so I called to the junior high, the same junior high I went to, and found out she wasn't at that building today, but at a meeting at the high school. Before I got off the phone with the secretary, the same secretary who was there since I was in kindergarten, she wanted to speak with me a bit. Then I called to the high school and first talked to the secretary who was the same secretary who was there when I was in high school, and talked to her for a bit before she patched me through to the library, where the librarian, who is the mother of a friend of mine from high school, also then wanted a bit of a chat before she went to get my mom. I'd forgotten how much everyone really does know everyone in places like my hometown, and I was also surprised to find myself genuinely delighted to have a chance to speak to all those great ladies from my childhood and youth. It's been a while since I heard the voices of people from home other than my mom or dad. It was good to hear Ohio for a few moments.