Friday, June 23, 2017

Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station?

On our first night in Osaka we lost our friends...and eventually found them. When we were together at last, we continued on our journey to Bentencho Station, to find our Airbnb apartment.  We queued at the platform for the JR Osaka Loop Line and got on the first train that stopped. I counted the number of stops on the printed subway map that I had obtained from Osaka Station and told my friends that we should get off at the fourth stop. Got off on the fourth stop we did then proceeded to exit the station. In the deserted sidewalk under the dim light of a lamppost, we studied the directions and photos our host had emailed us—it looked different. One of us checked his offline GPS map—Bentencho Station was nowhere to be found. And it dawned on us: we were not in Bentencho Station! We headed back inside to check the station name: Ajikawaguchi Station. Not Bentencho Station. Although we had queued in the right platform, we had boarded the JR Yumesaki/Sakurajima Line not the JR Osaka Loop Line.

Tips for Japan Train Virgins like myself:
1. In Japan, different train lines might share a section of a track and, therefore, a platform. Be sure to check the digital board or the train name before boarding.
2. Inside the train, listen for announcements or check the digital sign (if there is one; some trains in Japan don't) that announces the next stop or check the route map located above the car doors.
3. If you didn't do number 2, as soon as the train stops check the name of the station or station code through the window (if you can see it).
4. And if you still didn't do number 3 and have exited the train, before you exit the station, look around and check for the station name.

Arm yourself with either of these:
If you're old school — Train Route Map
If you're tech savvy — A pocket WiFi and a reliable smartphone with these apps: Google Map and Japan Trains

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

From Tokyo to Hiroshima (2015)
10D/9N | Tokyo, Toyama, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Hiroshima
Tokyo Accommodation: Shinjuku Airbnb
Tokyo: Memorable Tokyo Eats
Tokyo: Odaiba
Tokyo: Doing Touristy Things in Tokyo
Toyama: A Hamlet Called Ainokura
Kyoto Accommodation: K's House Hostel Kyoto
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Wisdom from the Road: On exits #2
Kyoto: By the Thousands (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sanjusangendo, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove)
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Turning Japanese
Kyoto: Braving the Crowds at these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji)
Hyogo, Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo
Hyogo: Day Trip to Himeji: Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Hyogo, Japanecdote: Am I an Alien?
Hiroshima: Strolling and Snacking in Miyajima
Hiroshima: Remembering the Past in Hiroshima
Osaka, Japanecdote: How to Lose Friends
Osaka Accommodation: Osaka Airbnb
Osaka, Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station? (you're here!)
Osaka: Osaka Castle and Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
Osaka, Japanecdote: Learn From Your Mistakes

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