Train Fares in Japan

May has been a big month for my blog. I've posted 6 entries, with many pictures. Thanks to Site Meter, I know that 356 different people have visited A Brave New Word. They live in 11 countries! USA, Canada, Japan, Jamaica, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey, Belgium, Thailand, Taiwan, Bolivia, and Poland. I know people in the first 7 (except Canada) so the rest are people just surfing the web and finding me. Cool! Few of them show up in my Frappr map because they didn't choose to put a tag on it. Now how can I get visitors from Africa and Australia to round out my continental coverage?

Over the weekend I went to Nara, the old old capital of Japan, from 710 to 784 ce, for a professional association meeting. My friend Nathan lives on the other side of the mountain range from Nara, in Mie prefecture. He'd borrowed some camping supplies a few weeks ago and will be leaving for good next week. So I offered to "stop by" and pick them up since I was relatively in the area.

The train systems here track where you enter and leave the stations, by velocity instead of distance. So I arranged to meet Nathan in the station for the drop off and then head immediately back to Osaka. I would only be charged the fare from Nara to Osaka instead of Nara to Yokkaichi to Osaka. There's probably an ethical dilemma to this. I see it this way: if the train is of value to me based on where it takes me from and to, then I should be charged based on where I get in and out. You could live in the train system if you wanted to, but no one does. One has to come out sometime and the computer doesn't care where they've been in the meantime.

I still ended up paying more fare because I bought reserved seats on the limited express train. That made the Nara-Yokkaichi journey just about 100 minutes. If I took the rapid express trains, I would have had a much later night than I already did. I arrived home from the whole affair at 11 pm.

Feel free to lend your voice to the train fare ethics debate!

In other news, I'm giving a talk at the Junior High Chapel tomorrow. Entirely in Japanese. Thanks to a fellow teacher who translated my whole speech. I'll record it on MD (mini disc) and try to upload it to my blog. That could be my podcasting debut! Until then, genki de!

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