Magun's Compass - Online Home of Nomadic Gatherings Travel Notes Nomadic Gatherings: Travels in Asia and Australia Nomadic Gatherings Michel Guntern (Author) 1. Taking Off - Shinkansen Train Travel

"I am sorry, ticket!"

I was stirred from sleep just after midnight to find a figure in a grey uniform bent over me. He apologised for disturbing me, but he had to lock up.

A Japanese station was very unlike one in Germany where authoritative little Fuhrers would kick a traveller to consciousness, demand a passport and maybe ask questions later. They would never apologise in a Bahnhof!

"Where are you going, please?" I was asked politely.

"Hiroshima, in the morning," I answered, still coming to terms with the blue seats of my environment.

He looked at his timetable. "Shinkansen, seesh-a-cloch."

I thanked him for the information, and bowed.

Shinkansen travel was not like normal rail travel; there were no rucksacks on board. Short of a video screen and audio-channels in the arm-rest, we could have been airborne; the movement was so smooth and quiet. I was waiting for the oxygen demonstration and felt like checking under my seat for a life-jacket.

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