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Japan – Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Experience November 15, 2006

Posted by Gaurav Dhiman in Japan Experiences.
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Hello readers, this time I am writing after a long time. I wrote most of my earlier blogs in my free time, but as I was busy with my new tasks at work and was also getting used to new environment around me, so could not write blog for quite some time. Just to update you I have now landed in Japan. Yes I left Cadence to join NECHCL, a Noida based company. I am currently in Japan probably for long term, around 2 years or so. I hope I will have enough different experiences here which I can blog it on my this site.

It has been around one month now since I landed in Japan. I have been planning for some time to write about my Japan experiences till now.  I think, their are lot of things in Japan which are unique in itself and are lot different than rest of the world. In today’s blog entry, I am only going to talk about my initial experiences in Japan, like traveling through bullet train, generally interacting with Japanese people etc. I will keep on writting my other Japan experiences under tag “Japan Experiences” on my blog, so keep a watch on it. I hope they will be of interest to you.

I landed in Japan on 14th Oct, 2006 at Narita Airport, Tokyo from where I went to Kobe city in south of Japan. Kobe is actually 13 to 14 hour journey by normal speed connected trains. My travel was sponsored by my company, as I was on business trip, so I boarded Shinkansen (famously known as bullet train) for my journey from Tokyo to Kobe. Shinkansen approx took 2.5 hours to complete the 550 km journey, it runs at approx speed of 210 km/hr. Though the fare for Shinkansen is costly, but still lot of people (mainly business people) travel by it as it saves a lot of time. I would say, anybody who comes to Japan must travel once in Shinkansen as its an experience in itself to travel by Shinkansen train, you will remember for your whole life. The ride is so comfortable that you don’t even come to know that you are in a train. If people do not look outside, they will get an impression as if they are sitting in a room, as the train do not vibrate or make noise at all. Following is my picture at Tokyo station in front of Shinkansen 700 series train, ready to departure for Kobe.

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Traveling through Shinkansen was my first encounter to world renowned Japanese technology, used in their day to day life. I was in Kobe from Tokyo with in 2.5 hours of boarding the train. Although sitting in Shinkansen train is an experience in itself, but I must also say that its much better feeling to observe Shinkansen train running on track from outside rather than to sit in it. It really goes like a bullet, hence its informal name “Bulllet Train”.

I was accompanied by one of the managers of my company from India till Kobe. As the manager, who accompanied me had visited Japan earlier also and was much familiar with what to expect and what not to, I had a comfortable journey till Kobe. My manager and I separated at Kobe station and from there I boarded the taxi to m guest house, where my room was booked. I gave the slip to the taxi driver along with the map to reach the guest house. I planned my travel to some extent before taking a flight. I kenew that in Japan I would be facing a major language problem, so I got the address (in japanese) and map of my guest house ready by searching on the net. Driver dropped me to the guest house entrance and finally I was there at my destination.

I did not had much problem in traveling as I was accompanied by manager, who knew Japanese language to some extent. In case I would have come alone to Japan for the first time, it would have been really difficult for me to figure out things in a country where very less people speak English.

Regarding the language, I would like to say few more things before closing this blog entry. Although now Japan have a very good relations with US, but still English is no widely excepted here. I think language is not a taboo here as it is in India. In India, people generally have a perception somewhere in the back of their mind that English is much superior than any other language, as English is widely spoken worldwide and had a tag sophistication attached to it. This is the reason, that most of the parents in India want their children to study in English speaking convent schools. This is my observation that majority of upper middle and higher class people in India take much interest in English than their national language Hindi, but this is not the case in Japan. In Japan, the only mode of communication is Japanese. In all their schools, colleges and universities, the only medium of communication is Japanese, now days they are bit moving to English also. All their government offices, private and public companies use Japanese language as a medium of communication and I think they feel proud in it. They don’t find much limitation in using Japanese as a medium of communication. You might find English speaking young people in Tokyo are, as its a capital and moreover a business center of Japan, but its hard to find English speaking people in other parts o Japan.

I think there is a very strong reason behind very limited use of English in Japan. The reason is that Japan was not much open to the rest of the world till the beginning of20th century. It was an isolated island, where no foreigner used to visit much till 100 years back . As it was a closed economy, with not much business needs, it remained closed till the beginning of 20th century and hence there was not much need of foreign language. Now in a current scenario, where globalized businesses plays major roles, the need for learning English has bee recognized in Japan. Due to this need, now English is taught at a very early stage in schools here. I think within next two to three decades, Japan will have a lot of English speaking population.

Thats it for this blog entry, I will try to write more about Japanese Language in my future blog entries.

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Comments»

1. lavnish - September 6, 2007

Japan is firm on its roots and very very advance technically
indians must learn a lot from it ..
not leaving … yoga , ayurveda , vedic maths … and moving ahead in technology …
I never heard “Modern Non rusting iron pillar” .. except “ashoka pillar” any one sure of the science there ??

sayonara
;o)


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