(English text to follow)
by Adio Alexander (sophomore international business major)
If there’s one thing about Japan that doesn’t cease to astound me, it is the sophisticated and extensive public transportation system. Everything from buses to monorails to the futuristic Shinkansen keep people moving nationwide at an unbelievable rate.
Not only is Japan’s public transport extensive, it is also both reliable and user-friendly. You can buy tickets or various passes quite easily, as every station has ticketing machines as well as a manned window for those who need assistance. There are also different kinds of tickets and passes that work for multiple means of transport— for example, PASMO can be used on trains, subways and buses alike.
Furthermore, you can bet that 90% of the time, if the train says it’s going to leave at 9:45, it’s going to leave at 9:45. Delays or cancellations are minimal, especially when the weather is free of wind or precipitation. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t always have alternative routes and schedules in mind, as any means of transport may be subject to delays. The good news is that delays are announced immediately, so you’ll always be aware if you need to make adjustments to your plans.
Of course, Japan’s public transport can look intimidating to the newcomer — the volume of people, how they all look like they know where to go and because you don’t, you’re in the way, all the various maps that really don’t help you that much because despite English being written on them, you still don’t know what they mean. And just when you’ve figured out what station you need to get to, you now have to figure out what platform you’re to wait on!
It was incredibly overwhelming for me at first. So much so that for a couple of weeks, I was too afraid to go anywhere other than school. Once I began to venture out a bit, however, I realized that going pretty much anywhere was just as easy as going to school. I could get on any subway, train or bus, and with the touch of my pass, I was on my way.
It is for this reason I’d strongly encourage all TUJ students to take advantage of this amazing resource. It is while we are students that we have the most time and flexibility to explore and travel. Japan’s public transport makes it convenient for us, so why not use it?
<student writer> Adio Alexander
Adio is a sophomore international business major, interested in specializing in economics and world trade. She is trilingual — English, Japanese and Mandarin — and hopes to be able to speak five languages by 2020. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and watching old films.