OK, I obviously can’t perform simple mental arithmetic. Not that it comes as any surprise to me, of course. 1h15m each way twice a day is 2h30m, multiplied by five days each week makes 12h30m. So I spend twelve and a half hours travelling to or from work each week. It’s still far too long.

This morning, I actually woke up fairly early, and got out of bed just after 07:00. I left my home on time, and arrived at the station earlier than usual. Anticipating my comfortable seat for the next thirty minutes, I went to pull out my commuter pass from my wallet to get through the gate, only to realise that I had left it in the pocket of yesterday’s shirt. I didn’t even have enough cash on me to get to work and back, so there was nothing to be done but to trudge back home, fetch the pass, and walk back to the station. Again.

I was late, but not excessively so. I still arrived before the first period, which I had free and spent drinking tea anyway. I missed the morning staff meeting; no loss there*! But I felt annoyed that, despite making an effort to get up in good time, my plans were thwarted by my own incompetence.

* Meetings in Japanese take an inordinate length of time due to the sheer verbosity of the polite Japanese that one is obliged to use. It doesn’t sound especially polite to me, though, just contrived and tedious. Compare the simple instruction to “Keep Right” on the staircase at Minase station with its lengthy Japanese equivalent: “階段は右側通行を願います” or “kaidan wa migigawa tsūkō o negaimasu.”

It’s also plainly unnatural to use, even for native speakers. I base this assertion on the fact that even into their 30s and 40s, Japanese still have to pause whilst constructing the next convoluted expression, and often make mistakes, accidentally dropping out into normal speech before correcting themselves moments later.