I was very impressed by he Japanese version of the bullet train. There are many differences with the french version I am use to take. I left from Nagoya (photo) to Tokyo and, thanks to the network setup, there was a train every 10 minutes (!).
From the outside, the specific shape of the nose was inspired by the beak of a bird that plunges underwater to catch fishes without splashing to much water, scaring their pray away. The part that connect the train to the electrical lines on the roof, was inspired by the shapes of owls feathers and wings, the bird with the most quiet fly.
All this design so that the train is quiet from the outside and the inside, to be power efficient and to respect the people leaving around the train lines. Nature inspired design has a name: Biomimetics.
Inside the train, the room for your legs is so wide that passengers can overlap other passengers without bothering them to stand up from their seats. It was very comfortable for my 186 cm and I am taller than Japanese “standards”. That’s probably done in order to allow the seat to flip the other way around as at every terminal, a railway employee turns the sit to face the runway. Yes, just like in a plane, everybody is seated facing the direction where the train goes. I love this kind of small thoughts 😁
Like in airplanes, you have a someone selling snacks passing by from time to time, but also WIFi access, very clean toilets and bonus for smokers, there is small, smell-less smoking booths. 🚬
All this comfort isn’t overly expensive. Actually, prices are quite similar with the french TGV. For the similar trip it cost 56-75€ in France vs 72€ booked and 68€ without booking. But in France, if you walk-in a train last minute, it might cost you double the price even if the train is half empty. Also, I already witness overbooked trains in France, the company assuming that some customers will miss or don’t take the train. In Japan: 1 seat = 1 ticket. Overbooking is, therefore, a complete no way.
There is many other things I can tell and compare, but I think that’s enough. I just want to add I loved this other little made in Japan experience, where you feel that the human is in the center of a concept. You end up travelling in a very nice train, great engineering, outrageous investment but yet decent priced.
Nothing annoys me more than this capitalist mentality to perpetually decrease company costs to exponentially increase rentability. That’s how you end up with low-cost companies treating you like livestock.
Well, this doesn’t really exist here. Well done Japan 👌🏼🇯🇵