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Last Train

It has been a while and I haven’t written anything, but I’d like to keep my family and friends updated on things going on seeing as I’ll be in Japan for what seems to be another 3 years give or take.  Here’s a fun story to show how ‘interesting’ my life is across the ocean.

So I recently encountered a situation that has happened to me on a few occasions, but this time the timing was pretty crucial.  I found myself in such a situation given that I work weekdays until a little after 9pm.  It also just so happens that the trains in my prefecture, (possible even all of Japan), stop at around 12pm.  Anyway, I was on my way to Shizuoka, the adjoining prefecture, and I realized I had taken the wrong train.  Now, in most cases I simply can just get off at the next station and take the next train heading back to my destination.  My only problem was, I had taken the train to the last stop, about 40 minutes out of the way of my next transfer.  As a result, I had to take the same train all the way back to the closest main city in order to catch my next train.

After talking with one of the train attendants I straightened out my route, but also learned that I would be unable to make it on time to the last train headed for Shizuoka.  So instead, I had no choice other than to go to Toyohashi station, yet another hour by train until my destination.  Once I got to Toyohashi station I had realized another problem had approached me nearly simultaneously.  My phone was dying.  After sending out a few desperate texts to my friends, I had found that any hope of being saved that night had diminished.

From there I had few options.  I decided to wander around the station as the attendants began to close all of the gates.  As I walked around to figure out my next move, I began to notice all of the other people that were taking refuge for the night.  There seems to be a high number of homeless people in Japan, and they are in rather plain sight.

Once I had left the station, I had approached a few restaurants and finally decided on one which did not ease my current stress level.  There were people standing out on the street advertising for their “club”, welcoming me in with open arms as they eyed my wallet when I passed by them.  Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed there were a number of drunk people constantly flowing through despite it being well past 1am by now.    The security cameras and the height chart by the front door did not give me any peace of mind either.

Considering the circumstances, I found a seat out of the way from everything and next to a person my age that had seemed to have been sleeping for a while.  The restaurant was open 24 hours a day which gives many people a chance to get some food and fall asleep, unbothered, until the first train in the morning.  Luckily, I had some books to pull out and read which helped kill some time.  Given, I could have gone to a comic cafe which offers a small private room and sometimes even a pillow for a small fee, but I had been bitter about my mistake earlier.

After getting some off and on sleep, I decided to head back towards the station.  There was a guy with a heavy metal T-shirt that approached me and started asking me about Pantera, Guns and Roses, etc.  I had trouble understanding most of what he was saying since he seemed pretty drunk.  I was sure to encourage anything he had to say though(haha).  I was doing my best to slowly drift away from him so we could part ways, but he was way too interested in telling me all about the things he loved.  Finally I was able to buy a ticket at the station and made it through the gates to escape him.  You see, the trains stop around 12am, but the upside is they start back up around 5 or 6am.  I’ll be sure not to make any mistakes again when given a certain time constraint, but I guess I did somewhat appreciate being able to see what goes on in the late hours of the night.

My advice, be careful what train you get on when in a foreign country.

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About travelnihon

I recently graduated from the University and am currently teaching English to all ages in Japan

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Last Train

  1. Sounds scary!! Glad you made it back safe and informed about what goes on at night.

    Posted by Grandma Fitzpatrick | October 24, 2012, 9:21 pm
  2. You are one brave, young man. I would have been in a hysterical mood. Glad you finally got a train and some much needed rest by that time.

    Posted by Karen Fitzpatrick | October 25, 2012, 12:57 am
    • Well I didn’t become hysterical, but I was definitely unhappy. Not much I could do at the time so it made things easy to accept. By the next day I was able to sleep on a series of trains so it made up for the lack of sleep the night before.

      Posted by travelnihon | October 25, 2012, 3:34 am
  3. Nice story. While not me, my son did a similar thing on our first trip to Japan (to watch Australia play Japan in a football world Cup qualifier.)

    After the night game in Yokohama, he took a local train in the wrong direction, got to the end of the line and did not know what to do. Without the knowledge of 24 hour restaurants, comic places and the like (only a few days into our first overseas trip), he decided to sleep on the street!

    All good!

    Posted by TonyJ2 | October 29, 2012, 11:04 pm

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