Large Scale Central

Train watching in Japan

Really appreciated your travelogue, Cliff! Safe travels home! Be sure to wave as you pass over us!


Thanks for that, Eric. And blessings to you and your brood.

You’re so close; have you taken the fam to Japan? If not, why not?

(ok, I don’t mean to question your judgement, but it’d be cheap to go there for you, and Japan practically owns half of Hawaii, so there’s nice transportation between y’all,…)

Hey, I’d recommend a trip to Japan for anyone. I’ll miss Japan. This has been a 100% positive experience. So safe on the streets; so organized and clean and friendly, at least here in Osaka.

I’m going to recommend a visit to my (grown) kids. About $1300 round trip on coach, and after that similar prices as US for hotel. Use AirBNB! Seems cheaper on food especially if you get nice freshly-prepared stuff at the corner grocery store. Say, 7 to 25 bucks for a big meal, depending on how crazy you go.

Way cheap in-country transportation, since you’d not rent a car, but use the trains like everyone else. I only spend a buck fifty on my rail commute to work, each way. And around $200 will get you a rail pass good for travel anywhere here, for a week.

One cool thing is that the price is the price, whether for products or for food. You pay the price, and that’s it. No taxes or tips extra.

What I’ll really miss is the people. So many times, as I’m fumbling at a cashier, or trying to find the right lane to board a train, or asking how to use the machine (the Japanese are hugely automated in their systems), all I’ve had to to is ask. This is always the case in a store: you express a need for help, and they’ll come around the counter and help you press the buttons on the screen, guaranteed. But a couple times I was at a kiosk to put more money on my train pass, and I couldn’t figure it out. So I turned to the person behind me, and they walked me through it.

(I later learned that I should have pressed the “English” button, and since I’m not very observant had to be shown where it was… )

Anyway, I’ll very much recommend a visit to Japan to anyone. Yes, my company paid for my trip. But now that I know what I know, I want to save up and take my wife there (or here, since I’m still here for a couple more nights).

To keep things railroady on this thread…

No, I was not able to do the cat-railroad-cafe thing. They were booked or closed on the evenings I might attend this week.

Tomorrow is my last day of work, then I’ll travel home Saturday morning. And get back to Baltimore earlier than I left Tokyo, on the same day, very strange. Someone smart needs to fix that, I elect the BD.


At my age I don’t do coach across the Pacific. Even extra-leg-room coach!

Great stuff. Thanks Cliff!!
Best, David Meashey


Thanks for the good wishes! Japan is in the planning stages. The problem is that it is the price times six. If we didn’t have my family to visit CONUS, it would be easier to make it happen. Because of the century-plus Hawaii-Japan connection (to included CINCHOUSE’s own heritage), though, many schools have trips there as part of their regular turn of events. Some day…

As for me, I spent three weeks there years ago when the good ship U.S.S. CHICAGO made a port call in Yokosuka. Many, many fond memories spending time with our JMSDF colleagues! The country you describe was much the same at that time, too.


I agree, the coach seats ain’t fun. Especially for the group of people blessed with long legs, which I cannot say I’m a participant of.

But I was trying to point out that, if sufficiently motivated, one could travel to Japan without taking out a second mortgage, and spending normal US-travel amounts on bed and chow (and less on transportation) once you get there/here.

It’s my last night in Osaka, and I’m heading for the airport in the morning for home. It’ll take me a week at least to get back to east coast time…

And hey, ECLSTS is right around the corner!