Between stretches of grey, brick walls and dark thunderous tunnels, our train breezes past the hilly countryside of Nagoya's outskirts at 300 K.  As the track descends a somewhat steep hill covered in bushes resembling cauliflower, I feel my stomach slowly creep up into my throat.  Despite it's speed, the train is incredibly smooth, rocking only so slightly as to lull several of it's passengers to sleep.  

A business man wearing wire rimmed glasses nods off and on between sleep as his cell phone lies silently upon his lowered tray table.  Suddenly we exit a tunnel, and the landscape changes completely.  Steep, rocky hills protrude the skyline, parted by thin, ridged creeks.  We pass a grotto carved in the side of a hill.  Thousands of upright stones planted closely together create a crowded graveyard, resembling a miniature metropolis.  Clouds hang low over the land, tinting my view through the small, oval window a dreary grey-blue.  Again we're enveloped by a dark tunnel.  This one seems to never end, and after a few moments, I'm aware of how much I am craving the comforting vastness of the scenery.  

When we finally exit, the breath I take seems fresher despite the sameness of the recycled air.  In the next small hamlet we pass I see several lights attempting to peek through the thick fog.  Our train hovers across a shallow river, and the bridge supports pass so quickly past my window that it begins to feel as if I'm watching an old movie.  The black lines between frames causing small interruptions in the scene.  Dark branches reach like skeletal fingers toward the deep blue sky, as our train car tilts to accommodate a turn in the track. 

There is some intense sense of loneliness here in Japan.  There is such a mentality of group think and community, and yet very little intimacy it seems...or maybe that's my own life I'm confusing with these assumptions of another country.  Another tunnel.  Maybe it's me who becomes claustrophobic when I'm forced to turn my head in to the warm lit compartment in which I travel, constantly yearning for the view outside, the space to breathe, the chance to be lost, the chance to loose.

Click here to view a video from the bullet train.