TED WILSON REVIEWS THE WORLD: JAPAN (PART 2: TRAINS)

★★★★☆

Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of the world. Today I am reviewing trains.

Specifically I am reviewing the trains of Japan. Not all of them, because I only rode on a few, but you don’t need to eat everyone’s food in a restaurant just to review the chef. You can try to eat everyone’s food, and explain you’re a food critic, and some people will be okay with that and others will stare uncomfortably and look to the wait staff for help, but the point is it’s unnecessary.

As a tourist, to ride the trains around Japan, you need a rail pass. These can be obtained from special offices, or from the feet of someone who has just dropped theirs. I chose to purchase my own because when I’m traveling I spare no expense. That’s also why I wore not one, but two tuxedos — so onlookers would know I’m living life to the fullest. And anyway, it’s better to carry your cash in the form of clothing in case you get mugged. (Travel tip: It’s too warm to wear two tuxedos at once for more than a couple of hours, and no one in Japan wants to trade food for a tuxedo.)

One of the most famous facts scientists have proven is that children love trains. I missed out on this because the town I grew up in didn’t have any trains. Or toy trains. Or photos of trains. The mayor hated trains, it turns out. As an adult, I’ve been trying to capture the enthusiasm children have for trains, and it finally happened in Japan.

The subway trains are fast, efficient, on time, and go almost anywhere you’d want to go! Sometimes they can be a little crowded, but I like meeting new people, so a few extra people only increases the number of friends I’m going to make.

The most exciting train I rode was from Tokyo to Nagano. I had hoped to get a seat up front near the train operator, but when I got there, there was no one operating the train. There was no steering wheel or anything, just a windshield and some seats.

I assumed it must be a self-driving train, like the self-driving cars Yahoo invented, and this filled me with excitement. When the ride ended, however, I felt quite deceived. It turned out the train operator was hiding in the ceiling, where he operated the train from some sort of darkened crevice. I took these photos of him as he climbed down from his ceiling hole of lies. He refused to make eye contact, no doubt shamed for having mislead me.

IMG_1068

It was still a lovely train ride in its own right. Just like every train ride in Japan. Maybe the trains there have more wheels, or maybe the wheels have tires to make the ride softer, unlike the cold, metal-on-metal train wheels of America. Whatever the reason, I can’t wait to ride another train in Japan.

BEST FEATURE: If you fall asleep on a train no one will bother you. It’s like a free hotel room.
WORST FEATURE: If you fall asleep on a train, you will wake up at 2 A.M. on a train that has been shut down and locked.

Please join me next week when I’ll be reviewing a hockey game.

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