Clean, healthy, reliable - wouldn't it be nice?

I hate to admit it, but the first place I went outside of the train station when finally getting to Tokyo was a Starbucks Coffee.

Yup, it doesn’t get more American than that. But it’s only because we thought we could for sure get instant wi-fi there to look up directions.

Instant wi-fi is not always a guarantee over there, and we learned that the hard way. That’s one cultural difference we might feel grateful for, but there’s also a lot of admirable things about Japanese culture I think Stoughtonites can relate to.

For instance, can you imagine driving through Stoughton, walking through Mandt Park (or any American park, really) and not finding one single piece of litter? Most of us would find that laughable, right?

Not in Japan. Litter is bad. I’m talking speeding ticket bad. You just don’t litter.


Oregon gave me a lot of things I'll miss

Last week wrapped up a seven-year run for me as a reporter at the Oregon Observer. As I’ve informed people in recent weeks that I’d be leaving this job, a lot of them have slapped me on the back and joked, “Hey, no more school board meetings!”

It’s a fair point. Since 2006, my primary “beat” at this paper and its sister publication in Verona has been school news. I’ve probably averaged more than 40 school board meetings a year, almost all on Monday nights.

But to be honest – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’m actually going to miss those meetings.

No, it’s not Monday Night Football. But at its most basic level, consider what it is: Seven people – elected by you, paid next to nothing – gather for hours to debate what is best for the kids in their community.

That’s actually a hell of a thing to watch.

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