Flash Fiction #12 – Observing People: Train Edition

This is the first in a series of posts in which I will narrate an actual person’s behaviour.

He rocked back and forth as the train rolled down the tracks in Yokohama. His hand wrapped around a hand strap, he swung like a pendulum bumping into person after person. He drew the occasional look from one of his victims, but no one spoke up.

He had had too many beers. His boss took him and his coworkers out for drinks, and he couldn’t refuse. Such is the life of a Japanese businessman.

The train stopped at Kikuna Station. A seat opened up and he took the opportunity to sit down. Because of his drunken state, he fell asleep.

He woke up with a start. The train conductor shook his shoulder. He glanced around in confusion. Motomachi-Chukagai Station. He missed his stop. Oh well, he thought. I can always take this train back to Yokohama.

Forty minutes later, he woke up. Shibuya Station. Shit. Another yo-yo trip on the Toyoko Line.

Of course, a lot of this is fictional.

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Even a Writer Needs to Learn Vocabulary

I was recently introduced to a vocabulary building website, vocabulary.com.  It tests your vocabulary and introduces new words to you, which you then have to try to correctly answer questions about.  It’s a kind of learning tool that uses spaced repetition to help you recall what you’ve studied, and it regularly goes back to learned words and retests you.

Why would I, a person with a good vocabulary and just happens to be an English teacher, work on my vocabulary?  Well, it’s not a bad idea to improve myself.  I frequently come across words I haven’t seen before in novels, and it makes me think about my own writing. I want to keep my vocabulary up.

What are some other ways to acquire new words for use in writing?  What do you do?