Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Japan - Beware of The Last Train

I went to Hachiouji for a karaoke session with my old mate from middle school because she lives near there. Hachiouji is bascically about 1 hour 30 minutes away by train. That is, if you are lucky that the train is waiting for you at the station. From my dorm, I had to walk for about 15 minutes to the right Fukutoshin platform in Ikebukuro station, wait for the train to come (let's say the train comes once every 8-10 minutes). Get off at Shinjuku Sanchoume Station, transfer to another train line called Marunouchi and get off at Shinjuku Station.

Now, the hard part comes right here. I have to switch to Keio Line, which is owned by a different company than that of my two previous rides. The walk isn't long; if you're walking at the speed of Tokyo-ers, it will take about 1-2 minutes. Then you have to buy the ticket. And then wait for the right train to come. If you take the wrong train, you'll end up in a totally different place. The wait for the train in this station is rather long because Shinjuku Station is a terminal station. Let's say, the wait is about 15 minutes.

Then, from Shinjuku Station to Hachiouji, it takes about 50 minutes. Quite a long ride because it's from one end to another.

I was supposed to arrive there at 10 but I was late because I left my wallet (again) in my room and I didn't realize it until I reached the Ikebukuro Station.

And since the total train ride fee was pretty costly (160 + 330 + 160 + 330 = 980 yen for round trip), I kind of want to spend my time as long as possible there.

I was worried about missing the last train but my mate said that trains operate past midnight. At least till one. Well, I left her place at around 10:35 PM, and THAT WAS ACTUALLY DANGEROUS.

Apparently, I just missed the earlier train. I had to wait for 15 minutes. Then because it's one of the last trains, there were no express train. It stopped at almost every station possible, so the ride took longer than I had expected.

When I reached Shinjuku Station, I got a little lost because there are so many signs that leads to the same place but through different routes. I went to a really shady place where there were a lot of homeless people camping there. There was an old lady who apparently got lost there too, and she was hesitant to enter. But she saw me, and I saw her, and after I initiated to walk through the 'camping site', she decided to follow me and so I felt safe.

Then, I arrived at the Marunouchi Line at around 11:50PM. A train just left. And... lo and behold, the next train coming at 11:58 (according to the board sign) was actually going to be the last train.

GREAT. What if I missed a train in Keio Line and arrived past 11:58 PM? I will have to either take a cab, which is very very costly in Japan, or walk home. And according to my senpai, it takes slightly more than an hour to walk from Shinjuku Gyoenmae station to the dorm. IF you know the way.

Well, I didn't miss the last train. But there was another big problem: what if the last Fukutoshin train from Shinjuku Gyoenmae to Ikebukuro has left? I could take the Marunouchi Line from Shinjuku to Ikebukuro, but that's like making a big round trip and it will probably take about 50 minutes. If I got off at Shinjuku Gyoenmae to find that the last Fukutoshin train to Ikebukuro, I'm as good as dead.

So I took the gamble, and luckily... the last train had not passed yet!!!

I know it's hard to follow what I'm saying above, but basically what I'm trying to say is that make sure you know when the last trains are, at least make sure you know the schedule of the train stations you will be using.

Ahhh screw that. I'm so tired. Time to go to bed >.<


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