Traveling with Peace of Mind





Right. Japan’s public transportation system truly impresses me for its punctuality.


At major shinkansen stations like Tokyo, trains continuously come and go at the platforms, yet station staff and passengers move swiftly, that allows efficient departures. Japan seems to have a high volume of rail transport annually, which is surprising when compared to other Western countries, even considering the population difference with India and China.






Those who have traveled in Europe know that its public transportation constantly delays. There was a delay “due to the sunlight” before, or Heathrow disrupted for three days with just 3 cm of snow. Missed connections due to delays offer no assistance. If you try to book a hotel when a flight is cancelled, they will raise the price immediately, similar to how Uber hikes prices during a strike. Despite high fares, seats can be scarce and cleanliness lacking.


In contrast, shinkansen seats are spacious and comfortable compared to airplane economy class, and the ride is smooth, allowing for various activities during travel. I wonder if any other country has such a reliable public transportation system.






Recently, they started using the word “flight shaming” in Europe. While I don’t believe that shaming individuals would lead to sustainability, the reliability and comfort of Japan’s long-distance trains might indeed be beneficial from an environmental perspective. Plus, enjoying the scenery makes the journey much better. On that note, it would be so much nicer if ekiben (station bento boxes) could reduce their use of disposable containers—


*The issue of airplanes’ CO2 emissions is real, I’m fully aware of that. However, after reading an article about BP’s “carbon footprint calculator,” it’s disheartening to know that the concept is used like a way for the wealthy to shift responsibility onto the general public without changing their lifestyle. Of course, I won’t stop making personal efforts, but guilt-inducing tactics seem off to me.