posted by Jonathan
Hello everyone! This is Jonathan at?Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro.
Japanese people who I meet for the first time often ask me what things have surprised me in Japan. There are many little things that I have encountered that would fit that category, but as the time I've lived in Japan grows longer, it slowly becomes more difficult to remember them. The reason for this of course is that many things that were once novel, and surprising, have become mundane, and normal. Or at least as normal as it is to your average Japanese person.
With all that said, there is one thing that, contrasted with some of my own experience from my time in America, I can remember being very surprised by. That is, on newer commuter trains in Japan, there are TVs. The reason is, I am an American, and my most of my experience of trains in America is Amtrak and the Washington DC Metro System. Seeing as how both of these train systems are embarassingly bad, the quality of Japanese trains alone is impressive, but the fact that they have TVs, that work basically 100% of the time (contrasted with DC Metro stations for example, where?the escalators work approximately 1% of the time), was quite surprising. I will just note here that, if they have added these features to trains in America since I last rode one roughly 8 years ago, I apologize for assuming the worst, and hope that they actually work, which I find doubtful anyway.
But enough about how terrible the trains in the country of my birth are. In Japan the train TVs don't just show rail information. Here is a picture.
As you can see, there are two screens. The one on the right is showing the name of the station the train is currently stopping at, while the screen on the right is showing the weather report. Here is a closer look.
Note that the screen on the left is showing something different from before. Let's leave that point on the backburner for the moment.
This is a closer look at the train information screen. It cycles between showing the station name in Japanese (first in kanji, then in hiragana) then in roman letters. I was riding the Japan Rail (JR) Yamanote Line when I took this picture. Right now it's showing a map of the whole line (you know the Yamanote Line just goes in a circle around Tokyo, hitting all the major stations, right? Just checking.) with the amount of time it takes to get to the following stations displayed. This screen also changes, showing information about delays, which car one is presently riding in, and other useful information.
Now on to the screen on the left.
I just happened to be taking pictures when it was showing the weather report. It's written entirely in Japanese, but there are at least easy to decode pictures.
As you can see, in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures, it's an excellent day to sit in a?cafe?somewhere.
However, this TV does not just show the weather. It also broadcasts short trivia shows, news, and even brain teasers. Most importantly though (at least to the accountants at JR East) there are commercials.
Seven Eleven is advertising their summer noodle dishes (which are of good quality, by the way), just in case you were curious.
This is just one of the many interesting things that you can find in Tokyo; in this case one that also makes life a little more convenient if you know it's ins and outs. I took pictures on the Yamanote Line, which I should note passes through Ikebukuro Station. Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro is only a five minute walk from Ikebukuro Station, which is serviced by several JR Lines, as well as some private train lines, and subway lines. That is to say, if you want to sightsee in Tokyo, Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro is a great accommodation choice, because it is connected to just about every station, so it is really easy to move around!?
Thank you for reading!
↓ ↓ ↓ 目指せNO.1 Hotel in Tokyo! ↓ ↓ ↓