The JR Train
Maihama Travel Blog› entry 3 of 10 › view all entries
Talk about immersing yourself in the local culture! We had booked a morning tour of Tokyo through Sunrise Tours, and the meeting place was at the Hamamatsucho bus terminal at 9 am. As soon as we ate breakfast, we headed over to the monorail to get to the Maihama Station. The slight problem of not being able to read any Japanese prevented us from using the machines to buy our tickets, knowing we would have to switch lines and wanted to see if there was an all-day pass available. After speaking with the woman behind the counter, (more like pointing and nodding since she did not speak much English), we bought our day passes for the JR and went to wait for the train. Now, the concierge at the hotel had given us approximate times for the trains and had warned us that it would be during rush hour, but we were completely unprepared for what happened next.
As the train pulled into the station, we saw that it was crowded and that there was not room in any of the cars. Being used to "NY rush hour", there was no way that we could walk to the far ends of the train in time to try to find a less crowded car and get on the train before the doors closed, so we decided to wait for the next train. If anyone has ever ridden the subway in Manhattan during rush hour, or taken the LIRR on a Saturday night/Sunday morning "last train" ride, you know how crowded it gets. Let's just say that those trains were empty in comparison to the trains in Tokyo. My friend and I actually managed to squeeze ourself into the next train (after taking a deep breath and jumping into unknown crowded waters). We quickly learned the ways of riding the JR - get in the door, turn around 180 degrees, and back up. We were so crammed in, we did not have room to move our arms. Fortunately my arms were facing my body, or I surely would have been grabbing some poor gentleman's rear end! We kept getting moved further and further back into the car as more and more people kept piling in. It is an experience that no one can truly understand unless you have experienced it yourself! Afterwards, my friend and I kept cracking up about it every time we thought about the ride in to Tokyo.