Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Shinkansen (Bullet train)

The Shinkansen (“new trunk line”), Japan’s high-speed train service, connects many major cities at 300 km/h.

Launched in 1964 to connect Tokyo and Osaka, it has become a symbol of Japan’s economic miracle and technological dominance.

The trains are reliable (the average lateness is 12 seconds, which is considered early in Britain) and have a superb safety record – there have been no passenger fatalities in the Shinkansen’s history.

However, a recent scandal (a driver taking pictures of the scenery to send his girlfriend while he was controlling the train) has raised doubts over the professionalism and competence of some of the staff.

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