Thursday, August 11, 2005


On the morning train today, second day to the office, me only partially back in Japan, I quickly fell asleep and woke up an hour later on an unmoving train only about 5 stops from where I'd started.

If this were the Long Island Railroad, someone by now would have put a foot through a window or roughed up the conductor, but my many elbow-to-elbow fellow passengers merely tsk-tsked all about me in that Japanese always-on-time way as the conductor of the train, who (unlike the conductor in this post) must have been a very small, shy person with an even smaller voice.
Either that or he had his mike turned way down as he made tiny periodic announcements no one could make out exactly; seemed that part of the train ahead of us had disappeared into a black hole... or was it that the driver of our train had lost the entire vehicle on a bet... no, something had dropped a giant banana on the tracks... None of the passengers could be sure, what with so many calling loudly on their cell phones to say that they would be late because of the giant banana on the tracks or whatever.

I simply went back to sleep until I was awakened by the unusual effect of the train moving. As we slowly progressed I saw no traces of a giant banana and no debt collectors took over the train at Kyoto station, so I never did find out what the cause was -- I was late to the office, but I had an excuse slip from the railroad in my sweaty fist.

An hour and a half late: do I add that to my jet lag, or subtract it?

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