When I first came over to Japan, I was confused by the number of different kinds of trains they have here. They’ve got the 普通 (Local Train), 快速 (Rapid Train), 急行 (Express Train), 特急 (Limited Express Train) and so on. Well, these names seem to more or less give you an idea of their respective speeds. But don’t be fooled by the names.
It does not necessarily mean that a rapid train travels at a faster speed than a local train or that an express train can reach a maximum speed that is higher than a local or rapid train. No, it doesn’t. They are “faster” only because they stop at fewer stations, so if I were to take the train from Nagoya to Kanayama station, it wouldn’t matter whether I take the local or express train because it’s only 1 station away and all trains stop there. They all supposedly take the same amount of time to arrive.
But the truth is, I’ve ever seen a local train overtake the limited express train I was on. My train only went ahead when the local train had to stop at the next station.
Another problem I had with the names was that the express train sounded like it would be faster than the limited express train because the latter sounds like it has limitations. But lo and behold! Limited express means that it has got limited stops, so it’s faster than the express train.
Last, and also the most important thing: Today, I was going to take the train back from work when I realised I do not have enough cash to get a train ticket back. So, I went to the convenience stores nearby to try to withdraw some cash but I was rejected by two ATMs because they accept neither cards from JP Bank nor my Cirrus/Maestro card from Singapore. I was desperate. There was no JP Bank ATM nearby. I was wondering how I was going to get home. I didn’t want to “borrow” money from strangers because I felt that I would come across as a fraud more than anything else.
My last ditched attempt was the station. I went to the ticketing counter and decided to try my luck. I asked the kind sir at the counter if I could purchase my ￥180 train ticket to Nagoya with my JCB card.
He said “Yes, you can.”
So, I got my ticket and here I am. Home and safe from the typhoon which is probably no longer around Aichi anyway. I looked at the ticket and wondered why he charged it to my credit card since it also doubles as an ATM card. But then I remembered, Japan doesn’t have NETS.
The point is, you don’t have to sleep on the streets even if you didn’t have enough cash on you to board the train as long as you have the card.
Yes, VISA takes you places but JCB took me home.