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Snowy Day in Tokyo

18 Jan

The weather forecast yesterday said that it was going to snow in the Tokyo area this morning, so I wasn’t surprised by this morning’s snow.

It snows a lot in northern Japan, but only a couple of times each winter in Tokyo. And when it does snow here, it’s normally not very much. I have seen blizzards and heavy snow in Tokyo…but not so often.

Because it doesn’t snow so much here, Tokyo isn’t as prepared for it as they are up north. Most people don’t own a snow shovel here. You can often see people using dustpans to move snow from driveways.

And, the buses and trains will often be delayed when there is a lot (by Tokyo standards) of snowfall. There were a lot of delays this morning.
Though train and bus delays are an inconvenience that we’re not so used to in Japan (due to the extremely punctual public transportation system here), no one complains…everyone understands that the train and bus workers are doing their best to deal with the weather. Better “safe than sorry”.

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A picture I took this morning of someone’s flower garden covered in snow.

New Yamanote trains

1 Dec

The 山手線 (Yamanote Line) is a train line in Tokyo.
Unlike other some of the other numerous train lines in Tokyo, this one never leaves metropolitan Tokyo. It has some trains going clockwise and some going counter-clockwise in a loop around the major stations in Tokyo. A full loop around every station on the Yamanote Line takes almost exactly one hour…but the longest you’d have to ride it is a half-hour (since it goes in both directions).

The Yamanote Line is easily identifiable because the trains are lime-green in color.

JR (Japan Railways), the company that runs many train lines all around Japan…including the Yamanote Line, began using new, updated trains on the Yamanote Line yesterday.

This is the first time this line has gotten new trains since 2002. I remember when the 2002 trains came out…they seemed so “modern”. But the new 2015 line make those trains look outdated!

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi)

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi).

These new trains has considerably less advertised posters on the train walls. Instead, it has many more digital monitors.

As I mentioned above, the Yamanote Line runs in metropolitan Tokyo only…normally!
Yesterday, as it was the first day for these new trains…one Yamanote Line train made a special trip to Kamakura, about an hour south of Tokyo!

Coincidentally, we drove to Kamakura yesterday (Click here to see my photos).

The Tokyo subway terrorist attack

20 Mar

Today is the nineteenth anniversary of the 1995 March 20th sarin gas attack on three lines of the Tokyo subway system.

sarin attack

I remember that day well.

Prior to that cowardly attack, I had never heard of “sarin gas”. But it’s a nerve agent that is deadly and is easily airborne.

This attack was carried out by the bizarre followers of the equally bizarre Asahara Shoko in the weird “Aum Shinrikyo” cult.

I had known about this cult before the March 1995 attacks. I had seen some of their brainwashed followers in a public park doing some kind of yoga-like stretches and chanting. So I knew they were strange…but until 1995 March 20th, I didn’t know they were dangerous, as well.

It was reported after the attacks that the “reason” these people put containers of nerve gas on trains that killed thirteen people and injured thousands was because they were brainwashed by the cult’s leader, Asahara, that he was the second-coming of Christ and this attack was needed to hasten “Judgement Day”. Or something ridiculous like that.

After this attack, the train and subway lines in Japan were on “high alert”, public trash bins were removed from all stations (a number have since been replaced with a new “transparent” design), there were “Wanted” posters all over Japan for the people responsible, and the “Aum Shinrikyo” cult was designated as a terrorist organization and forced to close down.
Unfortunately though, the members of the cult who weren’t arrested simply changed the name of their group to “Aleph” and still meet under that name.

Japanese train station safety barriers

17 Mar

Many things in Japan are high-tech far beyond other countries…such as toilets and bathtubs, vending machines, etc.

And the “accessibility” for the handicapped in Japan has become quite good…for example, braille is on many things here including money, alcohol and shampoo (Click here to read a post I wrote about that.)

But there was one thing that I also should be changed…the lack of safety barriers on train and subway platforms.

Thankfully there aren’t very many cases…but on occasion, drunk, blind or careless people have fallen off of the platforms.
And, unfortunately, suicidal people have jumped from them onto the path of oncoming trains.

But, of course, I’m not the only who noticed this problem and more and more train stations are installing safety barriers to keep people from falling (or jumping) from the platforms.
Eventually all of the train stations in Japan will have them!

And, of course, train station platform safety barriers in Japan are high-tech.

Check out this video:

(hat tip: RocketNews24)

Japan in January

1 Mar

Japan is beautiful in January … and every other month!

Storm on Grandparents Day

16 Sep

It’s a three-day-weekend in Japan.
Today is 敬老の日 (Respect For Elders Day).

Even though today is a holiday, we’re staying indoors … and if you’re in the Tokyo area, you should too!

Because a big typhoon is currently hitting eastern Japan!

Trains have stopped, bridges are closed, houses and cars have been torn up, some parts of Kanagawa had a black-out, Kyoto and the city of 小浜 (Obama) have been flooded.

(Speaking of the Japanese city with the same name as the U.S. president, I wrote a post here:
https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/obama/ )

Heroes on the Platform

24 Jul

image

Yesterday, at a train station near Tokyo, a woman became stuck when she fell into the space between the platform and the train.

The people on the platform pushed the train enough for her to be pulled to safety.