Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Too Many People In the Subway

The first line I ride in my morning commute is the Marunouchi line, one of the oldest subway lines in the city. Somehow they haven't yet lengthened the platform to handle more subway cars. In addition it travels to some of the places where office buildings are most highly concentrated here, such as Otemachi, Tokyo, and Shinjuku stations. As a result it's jam packed during morning rush hour. As I got on this morning carrying my gear for this evening's ultimate pickup, I couldn't squeeze into the car fully and my cleat bag got squished in the closing doors. The nice lady next to me helped me to pull it out when they briefly opened them again.

A few stations down the line some poor woman's sweater was hooked by the fastener on some guy's satchel. He dragged her out of the train car before he realized what had happened.

Now that the G8 Summit has concluded, the police presence is back to normal, the trash cans in the stations are back in use, and the vending machines are once again accessible. I can't say I understood the security risks posed by machines selling fizzy drinks in plastic bottles and canned coffee to start with.

I noticed a guy standing outside the small bookstore by Myogadani station this morning with a banner, making some sales pitch. When someone is doing this at 8am here in Tokyo, it usually means they are running for a political office, but then I noticed he was wearing a vivid, pointed turquoise cap and the banner informed passersby that the Japanese edition of the last Harry Potter book was now on sale. That's almost exactly one year later than the English language edition, by my estimate.

In other news, butter seems to be slowly returning to the stores. My local supermarket now has it taking up a tiny corner of the refrigerated case that is full of 30 different types of margarine. The cheapest price looked to be JPY480 for 200g (that's about USD4.50 for 7oz.).

Made hiyashi-chuuka again last night, leaving out the ham as usual. A simple, satisfying summer dish.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Almost Lost My Ticket

After work today I entered Waseda Station on the Tozai subway line, coming back from having fed and talked at the rabbit, listening to a Boing Boing podcast. I fumbled my 11-trip (for the price of 10!) ticket out of my wallet as I heard the train pull up to the platform one level down. These trains don't stop for more than about 20 seconds so I rushed down the stairs, as you do, ticket in one gloved hand, wallet in the other. Fortunately the conductor glanced up the stairs and waited for me to jump aboard before he closed the doors. Less fortunately I discovered that my ticket had magically vanished after I got on the train.

I checked my pants pockets, my jacket pockets, and even rummaged through my wallet, in the hope that I had absentmindedly put it back in there. I found the spare ticket I had mistakenly bought on New Year's Day but not the one I was seeking. I mentally shrugged and began cuing up the speech routines to explain to the station employee about my lost ticket when a nice young lady came up to me and handed me back my ticket! I managed the typical words of thanks that weren't nearly effusive enough.

Does it say something negative about me when this is the most exciting thing that happened all week? Nah...

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