Thursday, June 17, 2004

Know Your Train Stations
Or
Train service stopped. Reason: accident

   I'm hopefully done moving things on the subway. I was going to make a list of all the second hand stuff I have bought in Japan -- basically everything I've furnished my bedroom and kitchen with. Instead I'm going to briefly discuss the importance of knowing all the train stations near your house. Coming back from another free-stuff gather, I was carrying a large plastic box filled with plates and other kitchen stuff. After making several transfers, I was finally on my home train line-- only to find it was delayed and the conductors weren't sure when it would be rolling again. After about 10 minutes of this, I made a few more transfers to a line that would get me to Akabane, one station from my home station of Kawaguchi. During this ride, I noticed that it wasn't just the Keihin-Tohoku line that was delayed, but the Tokaido, Takasaki, Utsunomiya, and one other line were also stopped, due to earthquake damage. Actually the English version flashing on the monitors in the trains just gave "Accident" as the reason, but the conductors gave more details.
   After an hour or so, the trains on my line resumed, and since the platform was now jammed with people, there was no way I was getting on the first train, especially with my big box 'o stuff. This was a full-on train packing, the kind where people stand in the doorway and push on the doorframe to force their bodies back into the train car. I waited for the next train which was almost as bad, requiring me to hold the box in my hands for the one station I had to travel. There was definitely no room to put it down. As I left the train I was pushed about so much I smacked some poor innocent bystander with my box. This is all typical behavior from Tokyoites on a crowded train.
   More to the point, when I got home, my roommate pointed out another nearby station on the Namboku subway line I could have taken instead if I had known about it. Therefore the moral: know your stations.

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