Monday, October 31, 2005

Folks, we're running 6 minutes late...

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 10/31/2005
E7 and I had a FANTASTIC time at Seagaia in Miyazaki. We stayed at the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort, which was just fab. Oh and the spa and private bath? *Heavenly*

When we travel in Japan, we usually go by car, but opted for the train this time which was a pleasant change. I am a train affecionado...there is just something about traveling by train that gives the trip a whole new dimension.

And traveling by train in Japan, with trains that not only show up, but are actually on time? How much better can it get?...although it does take some of the fun tension out of the trip, since you never wonder if your train will show up or not.

On the way back from our lovely weekend away, we were talking about travels on the Trans-Siberian, which I took way back when from Beijing to Moscow. It was one of the highlights of my traveling career, getting to see a segment of a population that for all intents and purposes is cut off from the rest of the world.

In the middle of this conversation, a very panicked voice comes on over the loudspeaker (in Japanese of course, but since this is not a Japanese lesson, I will just paraphrase what he said in English...aren't you happy? :)

Conductor: Ladies and gentlemen, I am horrified to tell you that our train is running 6 minutes late and we have to ask those passengers going on to other destinations to change trains at the second-to-last station, not the final station. I am so sorry. Please forgive us. It is unbearable to have to tell you this news....

And on and on. His voice was shaking with horror or terror or some kind of strong emotion because it seemed he felt that he had let down everyone on the train by making them get off at an earlier station and change trains.

But this wasn't the end of the horrible day for the conductor. After announcing the delay and subsequent train change about 20 times in the span of 15 minutes, he then came around to every single person on the train, with his hat in his hand and sweating profusely, to personally tell them about the problem. He could have just announced it from the front of every car, but he went seat-by-seat. I heard him telling people from about 5 seats away, so you can be sure that E7 heard him too, but when he got to our seat, E7 looked up like, "What are you talking about? This is the first I've heard of the train delay."

Can you even imagine this happening in...the U.S. or Italy, say? From what I remember, the train more often than not, doesn't even show up and no one knows where it could be. "Oh yeah, the train to Rome? I think it was supposed to leave an hour's not here? Well, it must be coming shortly..." romantic whether they are on time or not. Want to join us on the Orient Express? We're thinking of taking a trip on that famous train from Istanbul--Bucharest--Budapest--Venice...Break out the champagne!

2 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

Winnie said...

That story is classic. It's so Japan.
Love the new color scheme, BTW.

Mom said...

I'm there for the Orient Express!!!!


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