The slow train

As I mentioned in Asia 2010 I’d like to catch a slow railmotor around the inland branch lines of the Chugoku region of Japan. It seems that I’m not alone in this, as I found an article entitled Enjoying the Primal Scene from a Local Train… A Trip on Local Line Seeking for Local Sake in Okayama (Part 2 here) that talks about some of the features on these branch lines.

I’m still trying to recall if I actually enjoyed catching the local trains in past Japan trips. Japanese express trains tend to be so comfortable that the upright seats and slow pace of an “all stations” can be comparatively frustrating, especially if time is of the essence. Also, local trains can get quite full without the guarantee of a seat (or you can feel compelled to give up your seat to the elderly and more needy).

On the other hand, a quiet, almost empty carriage can be quite pleasant to travel in. You get to stop and see interesting stations. Often, I just want to hop off and explore the towns and suburbs, even if they seem lacking of any special attractions. It would be wonderful to do that and just see where you end up for the day, without any preplanning. Not this trip, not with Alex right now. Maybe next time…

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