A suburb In Japan, approximately 40 minutes outside of Tokyo by Route 1. Home of some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. The setting is reminiscent to that of the "boondocks" with rice paddies literally in the front yards of some homes. One-lane roads provide the only transportation from house to house, but the local train station is within walking distance. Like most American suburbs, there is an industrial area, featuring strip malls and Mos Burgers.

The general ambiance of the area is very laid back, nothing is rushed, despite the busy schedules of the resident's lives. They seem to have their life down to a science; every hour is filled with activity. The local high school was very receptive of my American colleagues and I, showing us around and basically treating us like celebrities. In general, the town is the embodiment of the meeting between old and new culture. Classic house styles give way to satellite TV receptors and old women talk on their super-small digital phones while pedaling their bikes down the dirt road. I highly recommend stopping in if you have the chance, and get away from the urban hustle for a day or two.

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