Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hell - Redefined

Imagine me as "US" and the kids as the kids
In a previous post over two years ago (see here) I defined hell as "Hell is the 6 hour Shinkansen train ride from Fukuoka to Tokyo, stuck in the smoking car". Up until now I have seen no need to revise this definition although it probably should be mentioned that this specific torment is now off the map as they have implemented 100% non-smoking cars in the Shinkansen nowadays.

However, as of today I feel that I need to redefine "hell" as I experienced something much much worse... The new definition is "Hell is to in the return commuting train during rush hour, find myself in a car occupied by a vicious horde of 5-6 year old kids who scream, climb all over you and some delicate stuff in the bag and generally won't shut up and sit still for even a minute". The train was too crowded to escape much and besides, they had infected the whole train car. Naive as I was, I was hoping that they would get off pretty early and clear the car completely, but this was not the case as they were all remaining when I got off. 

In comparison, I'd rather take a six hour ride in the (now extinct) smoking car of a Shinkansen bullet train than endure this ever again...  

10 comments:

mid-Japan-crisis said...

The Fleet comment was just fleating, sorry.
I also think something needs to be done about the nightmare that is the commuter trains here.
Here is my flimsy proposal:
http://mid-japan-crisis.blogspot.com/2011/07/beautiful-moon.html

canthushme said...

Imagine the same kids, maybe younger, screaming and not sitting down for an intercontinental flight lets say, Tokyo-Chicago...not being able to shut the up...THAT is hell

April said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April said...

Wow..sorry to hear that. You must have the patience of a saint. How did you resist smacking a few of them? I'm also amazed that they didn't leave you alone just because you were a big bad gaijin.

Chris said...

"they had infected the whole train car"

Comparing kids to viral pathogens always makes me smile :)

Will said...

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" Aren't children just hysterical?

aimlesswanderer said...

Hmm, perhaps you could have been inconsiderate and stayed in the toilet the whole trip? Possibly might smell better and have better ventilation.

A situation where you were not gaijin looking enough? The kiddies were obviously not scared off as they should have been.

Sarahf said...

Ah, the joys of being so white kids stop, open mouthed, whenever they see me. Makes train journeys quieter!

Mr. Salaryman said...

MJC - No need to apologize! THe correct answer would have been "Mengele"! Your idea doesn't sound too bad, but more flex-time would also help to spread out the crowds a bit!

Canthusme - That sounds pretty bad too, but they wouldn't be climbing all over you and you could at least complain to the stewardess and leave them to try and clean the mess up!

April - I think that my semi-gaijin looks might have spurred them on as there were some whispering, starting at my face and giggling... It might just be my horrible face, but I had the feeling that there was a discussion as to whether I was a foreigner or not...

Chris - Yep, they're all infectious nasty viruses! Everyone except our little Sunshine though of course ;)

Will - Yep, hysterical indeed...

Aimless - No such escape, no toilets on Japanese commuter trains...

Saraf - But don't you sometimes get met with extreme curiosity and lots of questions from kids? "How come your face is so big?" and similar tactful questions?

aimlesswanderer said...

Sorry, I meant on the shinkansen, they have dunnies.

Maybe pretend to be on the phone, talking loudly in a mix of Swedish and English, and seeming to be agitated? Though that might lead to emergency calls about a homicidal gaijin on the train.

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