Opinion: the myth of a late train

Or simply put: so what?

This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while hence the 2 week wait since receiving the late ticket and this post.

Firstly a bit of background information. Everyone has heard the wonderful stories of German and Japanese trains never being late, always arriving on time to the second and arriving in the perfect position each time. This is simply fiction. Even if everything is fine, there will always be something that either delays the train or off sets it’s position.

On November 14 I was riding the JR line from Takachaya Station (brilliant name and they use the old Kanji for station 高茶屋驛) the problem was the train was running late. The problem was the last train to Nabari is at 2315,and I still had get to Ise-Nakagawa first.

An announcement came over the tannary and stated the train would be late. 15 minutes later it arrived.

I always had the image of train attendants handing out late tickets to commuters like confetti. This was not the case. I had to go to the JR officev at Tsu Station and ask for one. I got a brilliant look of ‘what the hell’ from the attendant before he reluctantly printed one off stamped it and gave it to me.

Ignoring the customer service skills, which left a lot to be desired, the impression left was of blame. They seemed almost outraged that I dared ask for it. Completely shatter my nativity why don’t you.

For those of you wondering, the lateness ticket or certificate of lateness is called a 遅延証名書 or chienshomeisho, a word that I cannot seem to remember. Japanese railways give them out (should give them out) to allow a person to prove they were late. Which is an even more troubling statement come to think of it.

I will be fair, I have ridden the JR line in Mie on multiple occasions and it has been delayed or late on multiple occasions as well. It’s not to say that they can’t be on time, but they choose not to be.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.



Categories:Japanese, opinion

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