Of Japanese Trains
I got a few good laughs out of today's Ichiroya newsletter (except for the part about the dead train passengers) so I thought I'd let Wada-san fill in for me on this post:
Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan!
This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No 93.Firstly we would like to thank you very much for a lot of e-mails worrying about the train crash last week. The accident happened not far from our office (about 30 minutes by a car). More than 500 people were injured or dyed, but fortunately no friends or acquaintance got involved in the crash. 107 people lost their lives in the accident--the young train driver was included among them. We want to express our sympathy for those who lost their beloved families and friends.
Both of our daughters go to school by train and some of our staffs come to our office by train also, and we cannot feel it is someone else's affair. We couldn't imagine more than hundred people dyed by a train crash. We always thought the train was safe, punctual, cheap and reliable. Teachers taught us Japan had most extensive railway system in the world (when I was young). Nowadays most people have their own cars, but our family didn't have a car until I graduated from high school, and we seem to be able to live comfortabley without private car both now and olden times.
Most people go to office by trains. When I worked for Daimaru Department store, I rode a bus from the bus stop near my house to the railway station, and took a crowded train, and had to change train near Osaka. It always took about 75 minutes in the morning, and return trip in the late evening it took nearly 90 minutes. Trains during the commute are very crowded, and we can not even open books. Please imagine riding a very crowded elevator more than 30 minutes! When I was very tired, I sometimes fell asleep with leaning to the people around me. Trains are so crowded that some troubles occur. In the passengers there are digger, sexual molesters, drunks and so on. In the crowded train we must take care for the wallet in the pockets, and must be careful about the hand position to avoid to be mixed up with sexual molesters. Everyday's crowded train suffered me a lot. When I had to be freezed in the crowd, I always endured with listening to jazz or English learning CD with walkman.
But because of its mass passengers, Japanese railway system developed many apparatus. I heard that automatic ticket checker was invented in Japan. If you visit Japan, you will be astonished how the system are mechanized efficiently. We don't know what is familiar with you, but we try to itemize:
- Automatic ticket machine can accept banknotes, and we can throw in the multiple coins at a time. We can buy multiple tickets at a time. (Please check the fare before you get in the lines of machine. The sign above machines shows the route map and fares.)
- If you put a ticket or commuter pass in the ticket checker, it will be ejected at the another end in a blink of an eye. Even if you have two tickets for the ride, you can put them in piles. (Never pause for waiting the ticket. After passengers will rush against you! And never forget to take the ticket when you go in the station. If you forget to take the tickets, after passenger will take your ticket and all after passengers will take wrong tickets!)
- There are 'Norikoshi-seisanki', which means 'fare adjustment machine'. (If you have wrong ticket, you can adjust the fare by that machine, which are usually put in near the ticket wicket. But of course, asking station attendants is more easily for foreigners!)
- There are some kinds of advanced payment cards. For example we can buy three thousand yen card, and we can put it in the ticket checker machine. Ticket checker prints boarding station, exit station, fare and the outstanding balance. (It is very useful to when you must note down the fares. )
- Most advanced ticket is ICOCA, which is issued by JR. Only letting the ticket touch to the machine, everything is recorded. We don't need to put in the machine, and only let it touch which is in the card case.
- We can buy tickets of Shinkansen bullet train on the internet. (But we need to subscribe in advance. If you once subscribe you can take the ticket even on the handiphone's internet.)
- Very punctual. Except the accidents, Trains always are run on time precisely. Time errors are always within a minute. (If you ride during rush hour, and getin the last, you must be pushed by station attendants strongly to close thedoor. Be careful to your bag and cloth. Sometimes bag or skirt are bitten by door, and you will not be able to move it until next stations. Station attendants are eager to be punctual, but do not really care about your bag or cloth!)
The icing on the cake - There are women-only car during crowded time. (Please check the gender of passengers. If you are male, and passengers around are all female, it is not the time to be delighted!)
Of course there are many other trains which you can enjoy the tranquil scenery and have a very relaxing trip (as Yuka wrote about the train ride to Shikoku last time). Yuka told me that when she was a junior high school student-she was studying for the test in the train and there was a man who were eager to teach her and her friends math and helped their study until they arrive at the destination.
We are sorry about the theme, which are not connected to kimono or fabrics. We are adding new arrivals of kimono, haori and bolt in about 5 hours from now--we hope you have some time to browse our new arrivals, domo arigato gozaimasu.
Ichiro & Yuka Wada
Kimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"