Thursday, June 9, 2016

Trains for throwback Thursday...

The other night, I was daydreaming about Japan again so I thought I'd look at the photos of my Japan trip.

One thing I really enjoyed during the 11-day trip last October was the train rides. Getting to ride different kinds of trains made me feel like a little boy being rewarded with ice cream on a Sunday.

From the sleek shape of the shinkansen to the boxy lines of the JR trains in Nara, each train ride was just part of the whole trip experience.

Here's a confession. On my second day in Tokyo, I left my friend Dean's place early because I wanted to start exploring the city early. With my iPhone and the trusted rented pocket wifi in my bag, I was confident that I will be able to navigate the city just fine. I followed the instructions on Google maps about which train to take...

Or so I thought. What should have been a short trip from Oimachi to Shibuya turned into a two-hour trip. Haha! I made the mistake of getting off the train and transferring to another train. That brought me to another station and unfortunately, the station was not in a tourist area. Hence, there were very few people and very few spoke English. I tried to look for a passenger service center but I couldn't find one. So I went back to the platform and watched as train after train came and went. One thing I learned early on is that the rail track is shared by the different train companies. Taking the next train doesn't mean it'll go in the direction you want, which was what exactly happened to me.

I already lost two hours inside the train network of Tokyo(!!!) and I told myself, "Okay, you either sit here and wait for the entire day to go by and just waste the day. Or you take the next train and pray to God it takes you to Shibuya." That's what I did and thankfully, I found myself to Shibuya.

It definitely felt like a baptism of fire. Lol! After that, I felt like I was much more ready to tackle Tokyo's crazy train network. By the time I went to Kyoto, I was much more confident with taking the train. Also, it's mainly because the Kyoto network is not as confusing as Tokyo's. Haha! It was also helpful that I know how to read hiragan and katakana. That was definitely helpful when I was finding my way to Katsura and Shugaku-in stations in Kyoto.

The other thing I miss so much about Tokyo is the train announcement. Each station has its own jingle, according to my friend Dean. His explanation was that people would eventually recognise the train station by the jingle. And apparently, I'm not the only one who misses train announcements in Tokyo:

Hope to see you again soon, Japan.