Better Early Than Never


Is it ridiculous to get to work 2 hours early?

I was on my way to start my first day of my new job. I had taken the train a couple of times before but that was with a guide. This was my first time doing it alone. So I decided to arrive at work early… well, too early. Just in case any unprecedented incident comes my way, at least I’m better prepared for it.

I bought my ticket with no problem. So far, so good. I noticed ahead of me, the train was already there and appeared to be preparing to leave. I could have easily taken my time and waited for the next one but I decided to make a “go” for it. Maybe get to work early and make a good impression. So I ran for it. After my short dash, I jumped onto the train just as the doors closed behind me. YES! I made it!

The train began pulling away from the station, then I noticed something. It was going the wrong way. After a couple moments of light panic, I decided to relax and just switch trains at the next station. When I arrived at the next station, I saw a familiar site. Across from me was another train. Its doors were open but they were preparing to close. I made another run for it and jumped on the new train just as the doors close tight behind me. YES! I made it again!

Then something familiar happened.  As we pulled away from the station, I noticed that it continued to travel in the wrong direction. After some moments of panic, I decided to just relax, take the train on the next station, get off, and ask someone what I should do.

The next station was another 10 minutes away. There I got off as quickly as I could and left the train that deceived me. Then I looked around, there was absolutely no one in sight. This wasn’t a station at all, it was a platform with a bench near a series of rice fields. No gates, no person to take the ticket, and more importantly, no one to tell me where to go or what to do.

So I waited. Over 30 minutes passed and I was still waiting. So I started to walk, not knowing where I was or where I was really going.  Not knowing the streets of the area, I decided to walk beside the tracks to find my way back. You know, “Stand By Me” style. Unfortunately for me, this was not how it works in Japan. A train buzzed by, and it was fast and quite scary. I had to dive off the tracks… “Stand By Me” style.

Luckily, there was a nice, soft, muddy rice field to land in. Okay, no more walking along the train tracks. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a nice, clear road next to the tracks to walk along. So I had to zigzag along the tracks to not get lost. Although I enjoyed the scenery, this made my journey even more time-consuming. Also, it was in the middle of the summer.

But an hour later, I made it back to my original station. I asked the worker there where to go and made it to work just on time, actually, 5 minutes early. YES! I made it! That’s how you learn to ride a train, the riveting way.

So, is it ridiculous to arrive at work 2 hours early? Not always.

(image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/