Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Kindness of Strangers

The Shinkansen Bullet Trains are no longer the worlds fastest but "their efficiency as proved by long-distance journeys timed to the minute is legendary."

UNLESS.. a major fire next to Yurakucho Station  burns through Japan Rail's transmission cables suspending  more than 100 Bullet Trains carrying 317,000 passengers,  that is.

We apparently used up some of our luck the day before, winning all those toys at Joypolis. Our reserved seating on the 1pm Bullet Train to Kyoto, deteriorated into a scrum in a long queue for a stopping most stations alternative. But in reality we were lucky to have got onto any train and only delayed by about an hour.

Photo care of Japan Times
Once again the kindness and generosity of Japanese people struck me as an elderly woman squashed herself against a window so that Pinkster and I could share the last available seat next to her. 

After being camped out on a cold windy platform, Miss Pink soon succumbed to the land of nod.  The lovely lady next to us lifted Pinkster's legs and placed them on her lap and we traveled like that for the next hour and a half. 

She lowered the window shade for us then briefly raised it to point out Mt Fuji. She moved her luggage, squashing herself more, pointing to my legs saying "long!" and gesturing that I should stretch out more.

After two and a half hours and a few frantic seat shuffles we lost sight of our new friend in the crazy rush to exit the train at Kyoto.

But there she was on the platform craning her neck, then waving madly to us. She'd waited to say goodbye and to give Miss Pink a quick hug.

I've never uttered so many heartfelt 'arigato's in all my life. 

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