Tag Archive: Subway

Sep 06

Shambolic Subways

Have not had great luck with subways today.


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.!



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.

Jun 09

Toronto Bound

I am writing this on the airport bus.  I had about 5 hours of sleep last night, which is much more than I usually get the night before a flight.  Of course, today’s flight departs at 16:00, which gave me some wiggle room in the morning.


Not that I wasn’t tearing out the door at the last moment anyway.  Or would have been.


It was raining, and since I didn’t want to try to lug my bags down the three flights of stairs near my house in the pouring rain, I called a taxi.  I had been on time until I made this decision.  It took me 15 minutes to find a taxi number (I was looking on the internet while I should have been looking on the fridge) before I was able to call.


The  dispatch guy told me 7 minutes.  It took them almost 30 minutes.  When I called the cab company at 11:20, I had expected to be at the terminal by 12:50, on the bus by 12:05, and at the airport at 13:30, about 30 minutes later than my intended arrival.


I’ll be 15 minutes later than that, which doesn’t sound like much, but with Air Canada’s online check-in system rejecting me, I need to do a complete check-in.  And in my past experience, the Air Canada counter is always swarming with people by the two hour mark.  I didn’t end up having time to pack a lunch, so I also need to eat.


I would like to eat at the SUBWAY which is on the outside of the security area.  There aren’t really any good restaurants for invertebratarians like myself inside security, unless lunch is going to be a Starbucks frappuchino.  Given that I’m going to be eating Greek when I arrive in Toronto, that’s probably not the best plan.


I’m wearing as much natural fibre clothing as I can.  I’ve been watching a lot of Air Crash Investigations lately (probably not the best idea before an intercontinental flight), and I’ve decided that I don’t want my clothing to melt into my skin in the event of a fire.  So, my disintegrating O’Neils that I picked up years ago in Bangalore (cotton), and my new cotton cowboy shirt.  My undershirt is a cotton/poly blend, because I have no natural fibre T-shirts.  I’m wearing my combat boots, because I can’t fit them in my bags.  Normally, that’s a problem because I take my boots off at security to avoid getting frisked when the alarm goes off, but these are real combat boots this time, so they are hard-toed, but not steel-toed.  Or so I’ve been told…


Anyway, while I’m already missing my wife, I am looking forward to being in Toronto again, no matter how briefly, and seeing some old friends.