I took this picture when I noticed that all the electrical lines for this train station were incased in rather strange concrete "pipes" that snaked through the entire station. It seemed like concrete was an overly cumbersome material to use as an electrical casing.
A few days later I was walking across the KGU campus with a friend and in conversation, she used the phrase "knock on wood". It was then that it occurred to both of us that there wasn't any wood in sight. After walking for a bit we found a singular tree to knock on, but clearly there was no wood used in the construction of the campus.
Since then I have been more aware of the fact that new construction in Japan utilizes very little wood. Of course the old, traditional houses that still stand are absolute masterpieces of carpentry, but that tradition seems to have died out in the construction of new, economical houses.Returning to the train station, one day I happened to look down at the tracks and noticed that all the railroad ties were made out of concrete! I've often thought when looking at wooden railroad ties in America that such large pieces of wood would be hard to come by now. In Japan that indeed seems to be the case. I would imagine that in Japan natural resources can run out a lot quicker than in America, so when deforestation became a problem, an immediate shift to other materials was probably necessary.
I hope that in the future, America will be more open to making drastic changes when it becomes necessary to protect the environment. knock on... concrete?