January 3, 2014

Shinagawa fire + the Hell of traveling

I had originally planned to take a weekend trip to Tokyo from Nagoya to see my friends, visit the National Museum and the Ghibli Museum, but it was not to be.

I got up at 6am but not from sleep - I had been awake all night after having too much caffeinated beverages too late... So I was already running on 0 sleep.

I took the subway to Nagoya station, the transfer at Fushimi, the long trek to the bullet train entrance, and waited for my 636 Kodama.

2 hours later I was still waiting, my train delayed again and again, until I connected with my friends in Tokyo who said a pachinko parlor in Shinagawa caught fire and spread to the train rails.  All trains in and out of the line would be another 4 hours delayed.

My eyes were heavy, hungry, tired, weighed down with an overnight bag and gifts, I was dying slowly in the crowded cold platform.

I strained to hear the muffled announcements in Japanese, but no information could be gleaned, only their apologies for the inconvenience.

I made pals with a nice girl going to Shizuoka, it was her first time taking the Shinkansen, a train people set their watches to -- how ironic! 

Trying to leave but the crowd formed a wall...

Suddenly I realized I was trapped.

As waves and waves of people departed arriving trains, passengers waiting for their own delayed trains filled all available spaces.

It was as orderly a mad house as could be, and the station attendants kept people in order, but I was still tired, cornered in the small waiting area and unable to hear the intercom.

Finally, after waiting in the refund line for 45 minutes, they informed me I couldn't get my $185 back, and that they were sorry.

I was too tired to debate them in a language I'm not fluent in, while a hundred equally tired people waited for their turn behind me.

I hated canceling with my friends but I already missed my husband so much (save me, Andy!) I had to get back.

7 hours later,.. Came home to Mount Fuji bread... (Green tea flavored) and drew some New Years cards... What a perfect day :)

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