Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sardines in a Train--by Kumi Hori

This is a fascinating article written by one of my talented international students (Kumi Hori) for our college newsletter, "The Global Pen" Check out the YouTube link. It is unbelievable. There is NO WAY I would get on such a crowded train, much less commute on it twice a day! How about you?

Just imagine you are packed in an overstuffed suitcase.
Can you stand being jammed into a small rolling space? How about being too close to strangers in that situation?
If you visit Japan and use the railway, you will see an incredible sight at major train stations. Surely, one of the biggest challenges foreigners face when they visit Japan is riding the overcrowded trains. One of the most comfortable things about living here in Texas is that I don’t have to take the dreadfully overcrowded trains anymore. My husband used to take those awful commuters for two hours to get to his office every day and is now very happy with the 5 minute drive to his office. For those who live in such a big state with a less dense population, it must be hard to imagine such a nightmare.

An extreme level of urban overcrowding in Japan is so serious that its train system is known as the most crowded in the world. In fact, Shinjuku (shin-ju-ku), a major station in Tokyo, is used by more than 4 million people every weekday. While the trains arrive and leave within a few minutes in Shinjuku station, masses of people are still in long lines. Once a train arrives and the door opens, people stream out as if a floodgate had just opened. Due to the trains being filled beyond capacity, passengers can’t avoid squeezing in with other people. Sometimes the train door barely shuts and the train staff is required to push people inside. You definitely feel how a sardine feels in a can. To make matters worse, clothing is sometimes caught in the door and only when the train arrives at the next stop, can they be pulled out. The door on your side might not open next, however.

The environment inside of the car is awful, especially when it rains! If you get on the train on a rainy day, your shoes and the hemline of your pants can get wet due to numbers of sopping umbrellas. Also, the car is overwhelmed with the scent of sweat and bad breath. When someone sneezes right in front of you, it is as we say in Japanese, “BANJI-KYUUSU” (ban-ji-kyu-su) which stands for “the game is over.”

Even after you succeed in squeezing yourself into a car, there is still no relief. Now, you have to prepare for getting off the train. Believe it or not, it’s extremely difficult to exit the train when so many people are packed on. Since not all the people get off at your stop, you need to make your way through the crowd to the door shouting, “Excuse me! I’m getting off!” Still, sometimes you miss your stop.
I am so thankful that I no longer have to be a sardine in a train!

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Category 5 Winners Announced at:

Category 5 Winners Announced at:
the Meet The Christian Authors Event!

Contest Deadline Extended!

Our Category Five Contest deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2011. If you missed the previous (July 31st) deadline, here's your chance to send your entry(s)!

Contest Details--UPDATE

Hi friends,

Janice Thompson here. I'm sending an updated version of an earlier email about our Writers on the Storm Category Five Fiction Writing Contest. We've added more information. We would like to ask three things of our WOTS members and/or Houston area writing friends:

1). If you are unpublished (on not traditionally published) please consider entering the contest.
2). Please help us spread the word to other writers by placing this information on your facebook page, blog, etc.
3). Please pray for our organization as we move forward with this, our first-ever writing contest.

Thanks so much for your support. Now, here's the updated information about the contest (per Linda Kozar):

Dear Writers,

Details for entry to the Writers On The Storm "CATEGORY FIVE" Writing Contest are below. The contest is open to unpublished and non-traditionally published FICTION authors, both members and non-members of the Writers on the Storm group. NOTE: If you have previously been "traditionally" published, you are not eligible. However, if you paid to publish your book(s), you are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of our chapter. Entering a writing contest is a great way to get feedback or accolades, and we hope you will enter this one with great enthusiasm! The WOTS Chapter Board invite you to BLOW THE JUDGES AWAY with your fiction writing brilliance!

Our Cat Five Writing Contest OPENED on JUNE 1st and CLOSES on Friday, JULY 29th. Judges will receive entries for review on August 1st, 2011. Winners will be announced at our MEET THE CHRISTIAN AUTHOR event on September 17th, 2011 and winners will be notified by phone.
Our Five Categories (novels and/or short stories)
1. Romance (Historical and Contemporary)
2. Women's Fiction
3. General Fiction
4. Mystery/Suspense
5. Young Adult/Children's
Contest Fees:
Members-$20 per entry (Two or more entries $15/per entry)
NonMembers-$25 per entry (Two or more entries $20/per entry).

Make checks out to: Writers on the Storm

The overall grand prize (for the highest scoring entry) is the FICTION WRITING MASTER COURSE from, a $249 value. The grand prize winner will also receive a plaque, a press release he/she can share with others and a news splash on our website. The category winners will each receive a free edit of the first chapter of their book from a multi-published author, along with a certificate. Their names will be listed on our website, as well. We will also post the list to facebook, twitter, the ACFW loop, etc.

Send the first 15 pages of your novel or short story. If you have a prologue, you may send the prologue and part of chapter one or just 15 pages of chapter one if chapter one exceeds 15 pages. The total pages of your entries may not exceed 15).

Entries must be double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point on white paper.
Entries should reflect a Christian world-view.
Entries with inappropriate content (i.e. profanity, pornography, extreme violence) will not be considered.
Entries will not be returned to contestants via the U.S. Post Office unless a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) is enclosed with each entry submitted.
Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of the Writers On The Storm chapter.
Send your entries via SNAIL MAIL to:
Linda Kozar
7 South Chandler Creek
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Questions? Contact Linda Kozar at

Category Five Contest Entry Form

Registration Form Name:_____________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________City_______State____ZIP_____ Email address:_______________________________________________________ Member of WOTS: Yes….. No….. Category Entered: 1. Historical/Contemporary Romance ______ 2. Women’s Fiction ______ 3. General Fiction ______ 4. Suspense/Mystery ______ 5. Young Adult/Children ______ Amount Enclosed: __________ Check:___ Money Order:______ Make Checks out to: Writers On The Storm Checklist: Correct Manuscript Form ___ SASE Envelope ____ Registration Form ____ Check or money order ____ Mail entries to: Linda Kozar 7 South Chandler Creek The Woodlands, Texas 77381 Contact: If you have questions. Linda Kozar: Martha Rogers: Janice Thompson:

SATURDAY, May 7th from 9:30-11:00 followed by a booksigning 11-12:30

The Multiple-Author Booksigning will feature Patrick Scott, Martha Rogers and Linda Kozar!

Patrick Scott currently serves as the Founder / Design Architect for Creative Solutions, Patrick Scott is the creator and author of the Archangels: The Saga™ comic book series. First published in 1995 - 2010; the series has sold over 1.2 Million copies.

Patrick Scott pioneered the Christian comic book market in 1995 and is a 12 time published author, a trading card game creator (Timestream: The Remnant™) and has developed and published 15 inspirational posters. Under his leadership, Cahaba Productions, Inc. received the International Christian Retail Show’s highest honor by receiving an “IMPACT AWARD” in 2003.

Patrick Scott has over 17 years of graphic design, venture capital fundraising and business experience within mainstream and the International Christian Retail Marketplace. Over those years Patrick Scott has developed a professional working relationship with Lovell-Fairchild, Dynamic Marketing, Focus on the Family, Propeller Consulting, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Dickson’s Inc., Cactus Game Design, Universal Designs, Lifeway Christian Stores and many more.

Writers On The Storm presents...

Writers On The Storm presents...
Category Five Writing Contest

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker
Christian Comic Book Author

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