Monday, October 24, 2011

I break trains

The winner of INSANITY!!! Day 5 is Katharine Owens!

Lucky you! You can mail the name of your book choice and your address at muchlanguage (at)gmail(dot)com.

I'd like to say a big thank you to all the participants. You guys are awesome, and I loved your responses all week. With nanowrimo next week, and vacation (and Kindle giveaways) in December, I think it's the last INSANITY!!! for the year, but stay tuned, you never when some more INSANITY!!! might jump into the picture.

So, this weekend I had a crazy, crazy 48 hours which involved working both days and partying both nights, with a total of 4 hours sleep in 3 instalments. lol.

Saturday night's party mission started out pretty interesting. I leave the teacher's staff party in the City North of my town the minute it's finished to race to the station for the last train (one disadvantage of living in Japan's backbush is the private line with last trains at 9-something). I hop on the train, and we make it 2 stops South. Then the driver comes over the intercom. I didn't catch all of what he said - partly because he's speaking keigo, the super-formal and totally different form of Japanese, partly because I'm half-asleep - but I did catch these bits: "train before us", "oil", "tracks", "slip". And I think I don't want to know any more than that. The important thing was that we were delayed at the station until they figured out how to solve the problem.

Perfect for me, since I already know my weekend would not involve much sleep, I curl up and get to it. An HOUR later, I wake up to a conductor (who hadn't been on the train when I went to sleep) asking me how far I was going. I should be suspicious. I'm too busy being sleepy.

I can't get back to sleep. But it doesn't take them long to announce that they've given up moving the train tonight, and they're going to put us in cabs to our destinations. Whatever is up must have been pretty bad for them to put me in a cab for a journey that takes over an hour by car. When we get into Morioka, the meter is  over $200 USD!

This is not the first time I've had a rail fail. Last year, the train had to stop for a while because of mud on the rails. And it took 2 hours for the usually 1 hour trip. But my best rail story happened 2 years ago.

I'd gone to a goodbye party for a friend up North. I live on the North border of Iwate, so I'm closer to the next prefecture (Aomori) than I am to my prefectural capital. But my train line runs out to the East coast oof Aomori and he lived on the West, so it took some doing to get there. Nonetheless, I get there and we have an awesome weekend. A little too awesome as it results in a friend breaking her arm. Btw, hospitals have business hours here. It's hell to find one open on a Sunday.

So after all of that mess, I'm in Fujisawa later than I meant to be, and I decide to hop in the minivan with some people that drove from Tokyo. They have to pass through my prefecture on the way back. I figure I'll just have them drop me off at the expressway exit in my town. But then it turns out the Tohoku expressway splits and half goes East, while the other half heads West. I'm on the wrong bit. So I call a friend who lives in the town where they merge and ask if I can crash there. I do, and she even drives me to the train station in the morning. I think that's the end of my travel adventure.


In the morning I get on the train, and we make it to the same station we got stuck at on Saturday night - a mere one stop short of my destination. I realise that we're stopped a lot longer than usual. Then I see driver dude get out, and jump off the platform in front of the train!

He goes into the station talks to the attendant, and the attendant comes out and looks under the train. They talk for a while, before he gets back on the train. We won't be moving any time soon. There is A HUMAN TOE under the train, and they have to wait for the police to come and investigate it.

Of course, my first thought is that my Japanese is horrible, and I completely misunderstood. There's a teacher from the elementary on the train. I ask her. Yes, he said human toe.

To this day, I have no earthly idea how this dude saw a toe while he was driving the train. Nor do I know what the resolution was because the teacher called the school and the Vice Principal came and picked up me and the 2 teachers on the train.

Real life is so much stranger than fiction. I'm a train-breaker. Now you know. It's Monday and that's what's on my mind.


Liza said...

Congrats to all the winners, and especially to you Claire for reaching this milestone!

Sidrah said...

Insanity week was awesome =D

human toe?? Eeek =|

S. said...

Thank you to you too for hosting INSANITY!! I can never survive on that little sleep *dies*
human TOE? wtf..