A couple of Mondays ago, we were stranded in Paradise.
We spent the weekend over at beautiful Izu, and were on our way back to Tokyo. Our Tokyo-bound train was supposed to leave Izukyu-Shimoda at 3PM, but a typhoon had just made landfall, and the trains had been cancelled.
We tried renting a car hoping we could drive our way back to Tokyo. Too bad, no cars were available, and the car rental company even advised us against our plan, warning us about the typhoon. Not that we didn’t know already.
As advised by the train station staff, we tried reserving nearby hotels hoping we could just take the early morning trains back to Tokyo, but I guess every body else had the same idea, and no nearby hotels were available.
Expedia. Airbnb. Jalan. Nothing.
We waited at the train station for several hours, and it wasn’t looking good for us. I was ready to call my office mate to report I won’t be able to return to work the next day, but alas! There was an announcement saying they might be able to start one local train, but only until Minami-Ito, 50 kilometers north of Izukyu-Shimoda, but still about 120 kilometers away from Tokyo.
We were told that from Minami-Ito, we could take a taxi to Ito, where we should have better chances of getting a train or a bus that would eventually take us back to Tokyo.
We took the local train and headed north towards Minami-Ito. It was already dark when the train indefinitely stopped again one station short of Minami-Ito. Looks like we had an option to either get off the train and take a bus to Ito station, or just wait in the train and hope it starts to move again.
We got off the train and lined up for a bus that would take us to Ito station. As we exited the station, the staff gave us a piece of paper, which entitled us to a free bus ride to Ito, and another free bus ride to Atami, 20 kilometers north of Ito. Couldn’t help but be impressed with the kind of service we were getting, considering this is well beyond what was expected of them. Kudos to Japan for developing a culture that afforded this kind of service.
As our bus approached Atami, we were treated to a beautiful night view of Atami from the coastal road. A welcome sight, a ray of light, after a long day of not even knowing if we would be able to get home that day.
Upon arriving at Atami station, we bought ourselves Shinkansen tickets to Tokyo, confident these dependable bullet trains, the pride of Japan, would be able to safely take us back home.
I would be able to make it to work the next day after all. 🙂