Today we all managed to get out the door and to the in-laws. As always, this was a bit of an adventure involving tension, anger and laundry. However, we got out the door only 15 minutes later than planned, which is 15 minutes earlier than usual and managed to catch every train with little trouble.
For this trip we opted for the new bullet train that passes through She Who Must Be Obeyed’s hometown on the way to Itoigawa station. (Surprisingly, my suggestion we jump out as we passed through Nou was met with silence but not derision.)
The train was new and the seats seemed roomier than most bullet train seats. It had adjustable headrests and a pair of electrical outlets in each seat block for recharging all peripheral devices. It saved us a lot of time and stress as it was no longer necessary for us to change trains, which typically involved me rushing ahead and reserving/fighting for seats.
In Itoigawa we got our first visit to the new bullet train station which is a couple floors tall and towers over the old station.
We also got, for the first time in a long time, to ride from Itoigawa Station to Nou Station. In fact, we realized it was the first time our girls had ever done so.
The big change with this part of the trip is that Japan Rail had replaced the usual, old three car trains with single car “wanman” trains. According to the schedule on the wall, this seemed to be the new normal (with a few random exceptions). There also seemed to be more trains than there used to be as I seem to remember having to wait days to catch the next train if I’d missed the one I wanted, but that might be me misremembering.
The train was surprisingly roomy compared to the old trains and had wood arm rests. Instead of giving our tickets to a guy at the station, we gave then to the train driver as we walked off the train.
The only disappointment was there was no momentary blackout when the train passed from West Japan’s electric grid to East Japan’s. I was hoping to scare the girls when that happened. If that’s gone, then so is part of the fun of riding the train.