The Shinkansen Countdown

So, I’m waiting on the platform in Nagoya for my shinkansen (bullet train) to arrive. The reserved cars were all sold out, so I had to take my chances with the non-reserved cars, since I’m a bit short on time. The thing about riding in the non-reserved cars is that you never know whether you’ll be able to actually sit down or not. During the holiday season, it’s especially hard to find a seat. Needless to say, I did not want to stand for my entire 2 and a half hour trip to Tokyo.

Finally the shinkansen approaches. I’m waiting for car #2. The first cars rush by me…


My heart starts beating faster, as my fate for the next 2 hours will be decided momentarily…


The train is slowing down. I’m peering in the windows to see if the reserved section is full…


The pace of the cars has now slowed considerably. I peek in car number 5, (the first non-reserved car) and to my relief there are some empty seats…


Just a few more moments….


The train has stopped, and I see some open seats. I begin to relax a little, as I’m first in line, and I’m sure I’ll be able to sit in one of those seats.

The doors open, and people begin getting off. An older man and his grannddaughter get off the train… but then…

He stops in the doorway, and begins saying goodbye to her.Then he says good bye to her parents, who have come up to the platform to meet her.

I look at the door at the rear of car 2, and people are already boarding.I begin to tense up again. At this rate, the people boarding from the back of the train could take all the available seats!

Finally, the man attempts to go back inside the train, but the people waiting to get off are having none of that. He reluctantly steps off the train and stands on the side, waiting for everyone to get off.

At long last, I’m able to board, and thankfully, there are still plenty of seats available. Looks like I was getting anxious for no reason. I sit back, and relax all the way to Tokyo.

At Tokyo station, I’m making my reservations for the 1 hour Narita Express train to the airport, when the clerk says to me, “We only have standing room available, is that alright with you?”


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