The Shinkansen

Ever since I had first seen the Bullet Train as a kid, I've always wanted to ride it and I was pleased that the trip organisers ensured that a journey on it would be included. The second half of the trip was based out of Tokyo in Osaka and heading back to the capital for the flight home. It would be the Shinkansen (the proper name for the bullet) that would get us out there.

Arriving at the platform and this was the sight that met us, how awesome do these Platypus trains look. These are the 700 series of Shinkansen and they've been running since 1999. The fastest models (500 series) are the elite versions of the train and the 700s were made with the aim of being as quick but not as costly.

On the other side of the platform was this "still pretty cool but not as cool as the other one" train. This one is the 300 series and would be the one that would take us to Osaka. Still high speed it isn't as fast as the other two models.

I had seen several Geishas in Tokyo but they had all been very old women, and not so photogenic as this lady awaiting the same train as us. Fooled you! she's not a Geisha although most of us thought she was. She's just wearing a Kimono and is reading her book before she doesn't want to give us any of her attention. Geishas are very rare in Japan now, especially in Tokyo.

The women in pink are the cleaning staff on the train, and knowing the efficiency of the trains I was curious to see if the train cleaning was the same. The train was due to leave in 10 minutes and in that time they had to remove any litter, clean every table, reset the window blinds, turn every seat around to face forward, clean the floor of the train and replace all the cloths on the headrests.

Off you go girls, the clock is ticking.

6 minutes later and they were done. That was very impressive!
Admittedly part of the ease with which they pulled this off was that no one left any litter on the train. As you can see the women left pretty much empty handed (except for their cleaning materials). There is absolutely no chance of doing this in London. It would take more than twice the time to just pickup the Metro newspapers.

With the train ready for us, we did our bit in the super-efficiency of the train company and didn't hesitate to board. We were all sat down ready to go very quickly indeed. Actually the trip organisers were not looking forward to ensuring 140 people made the train on time that wasn't going to wait for any late comers. As it happened they didn't need to worry, we were all very well behaved.

All ready to go and for once David Finkelstein didn't get the front row.

So how was the journey? Very smooth and very quick, exactly what you'd expect from perhaps the most famous high speed train network in the world.

In no time at all we were in Osaka ready for the second leg of the trip. The first thing I had noticed at the station was the lack of English signs. This wasn't going to be as easy to navigate as the capital!


Post a Comment

<< Home