Chapter One: Taking Off - Shinkansen Train Travel.
"I am sorry, ticket!"
I was stirred from sleep just after midnight to find a figure in a grey uniform bent over me. He apologised for disturbing me, but he had to lock up.
A Japanese station was very unlike one in Germany where authoritative little Fuhrers would kick a traveller to consciousness, demand a passport and maybe ask questions later. They would never apologise in a Bahnhof.
"Where are you going, please?" I was asked politely.
"Hiroshima, in the morning," I answered, still coming to terms with the blue seats of my environment.
He looked at his timetable. "Shinkansen, seesh-a-cloch."
I thanked him for the information, and bowed.
Shinkansen travel was not like normal rail travel; there were no rucksacks on board. Short of a video screen and audio-channels in the arm-rest, we could have been airborne; the movement was so smooth and quiet. I was waiting for the oxygen demonstration and felt like checking under my seat for a life-jacket.
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