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Jul 11, 2018

My train journey through central Japan, slowed by fire

My train journey through central Japan, slowed by fire photoI was traveling with three friends of mine from California by local train from Tokyo to Nagoya, when a burning building along the tracks impeded our progress, luckily, we experienced a side of Japan we had not seen before.

In August 2015, shortly before my trip, I had learned about the Seishun 18 Kippu. This special ticket allows the user to travel cheaply using a single ticket for 5 days, regardless if they are consecutive or not. What is also nice about this ticket is that multiple people can use share the ticket stub at the expense of using the allotted days.

The early morning we arrived, we briefly stayed at a hotel to freshen up admittedly very jetlagged, before we set off to the station by first train. It took us a while to find the place where we can purchase the special ticket, but we managed to find the ticket office with the help of our broken Japanese. With tickets in hand, we finally passed the ticket barrier and boarded the train bound for Nagoya.

The journey was rather slower than we had hoped for, as we drew closer to Shizuoka. The train continuously started and stopped, often waiting 30 minutes to an hour waiting at several stations. We learned later the reason for the delays was because of a fire by the tracks brushing dangerously close from a recently burning home. We saw what remained of the charred building from the car windows as we slowly passed.

The highlight of the journey to Nagoya, was interesting to see how Japanese people reacted to this of incident. The firefighters that remained outside the tracks looked deeply exhausted and I could remember the faces of what I assumed to be the owners of the home, filed with a noticeable sorrow. What was most rememberable was about the sheer amount of uniformed school age students who had to travel long commutes to school, only to be delayed by incidents such as the fire. I figured some of these students were playing hooky. I joked about it with my friends, especially at the one station we stayed long enough to notice.




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