Tag Archive: Tokyo

Sep 06

Shambolic Subways

Have not had great luck with subways today.

STORY 1

On my way to give my talk for ASIOS at Bungeisha, I had to take the Tokyo subways. My final train change was at Akasaka-Mistuke. I followed the signs on the platform, noting that the line I needed to change to was a whopping 600+ meters from where I now stood. Not unused to silly distances in the subways, I started walking.

When I arrive, I realize that I have actually walked to the next station on the line– and the opposite direction of my destination. I assume if I had disembarked at the opposite end of the platform at Akasak-Mitsuke, I would have seen a sign directing me to my transfer, less than 100 meters away.

Score another victory for the absolute shit signage on the Tokyo subways.!

 

STORY 2

Arrived an hour early for my talk (whoops). Spent the time eating in the shambolic Subway Sandwiches near Shinjuku-Gyoenmae station.

1) Entrance so crammed (architecturally) that I could not get in the door.
2) Napkins rationed (one tiny one apiece, and no extras available where customers could get one)
3) Not enough seats (maybe 10 counter seats), and 50% of the people in them lolligagging, i.e. finished eating and playing with cellphone, or in one case, SLEEPING.
4) Once I got a seat, I realized that the counter and floor was filthy; it looked as if someone had put his/her cigarette out on the wall. Propped my bag on the footrest to avoid having it touch the slightly sticky floor
5) No toilets. I dropped some sandwich on myself because I am a massive klutz, and had only my tiny napkin to wipe it with. Staff were so overwhelmed it was daunting to even try to talk to them.

I realized that for North America, I’ve probably described the height of luxury, but for Japan (and a major chain), this is pretty low.

Am now sitting next door in the (comparably) high-rent St-Marc Cafe (of Chococro fame), idling the rest of my time away.