đźš„SHINKANSENđźš…
February 6, 2017 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Tweet Movies & Images of Japanese Bullet -SHINKANSEN-. Let me introduce the Attractiveness of SHINKANSEN !! Enjoy it !!
@SHINKAN34721410 is a twitter account that posts pictures and movies of the Shinkansen, the streamlined trains of Japan's high-speed rail system.
posted by Sokka shot first (37 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
1st thought: "I should really post that nifty ad Sokka shot first introduced me to a few years back."

2nd thought: "I wonder if he's seen this thread yet."
posted by endotoxin at 1:49 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Well, Twitter was getting a bit dull, so this hits the spot.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:58 PM on February 6


Actually, “Shinkansen” (“new trunk line”) is the name of the high-speed railway lines. The train's called “Shinkansen's Monster”.
posted by acb at 2:08 PM on February 6 [41 favorites]


"I should really post that nifty ad Sokka shot first introduced me to a few years back."

ha ha ha previously
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:12 PM on February 6


The train's called “Shinkansen's Monster”.

I'm so irritated that over-editing my post resulted in that error, which I KNOW, I KNOW "SHINKANSEN" DOESN'T REFER TO THE TRAINS, BUT...

...it allowed you to make that absolutely magnificent joke, so I pronounce us both absolved.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:14 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


There is just so much excellent stuff about Japanese trains on YouTube and Instagram. Train spotters upload excellent HD video of trains passing by, and there is an entire subgenre of YouTube devoted to "front window view" and "side window view" videos, something similar to "slow TV" where you record, in HD, an entire train trip. I watch these videos on my second monitor as I work. Yesterday I traveled from Tsu to Osaka. The other day I traveled from Aomori down to Hirosaki, and then back up to the coast and down to Akita.
posted by My Dad at 2:18 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Plus they project cartoons on tunnel walls.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:32 PM on February 6


Knowledge is knowing that Shinkansen refers to the track, not the train.
Wisdom is knowing that the train is the true monster Shinkansen.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 2:59 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Perhaps the true Shinkansen is the tracks we rode on the way.

Or, alternately, the true Shinkansen was inside us all along.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:04 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


How timely, I just watched this yesterday. Shinji Sogo - The Pioneer of the Shinkansen [49 min, NHK World, available until February 20, 2017]
posted by unliteral at 3:04 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I don't get the joke, but worth knowing that everyone in Japan just calls the train service "shinkansen." The name doesn't mean "track" exactly, it means "the new trunk line", so it's a lot like saying, "I'll take the XYZ line." On the Tokyo-Osaka stretch people might say which shinkansen service they're taking, such as the Nozomi shinkansen or Hikari shinkansen. On some of the other routes AFAIK you would say you're taking the Tohoku shinkansen (up to the northeast) or the Hokuriku shinkansen (Tokyo-Nagano-Japan Sea).

But shinkansen doesn't exactly refer to the track. And I guess it doesn't mean "bullet train", either.
posted by My Dad at 3:07 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The train's called “Shinkansen's Monster”.

#Frankansen
posted by The Bellman at 3:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


There is just so much excellent stuff about Japanese trains on YouTube and Instagram.

My God, My Dad, you can't post something like that without links!
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:36 PM on February 6


This article (self-link, so maybe it will get removed) has a bunch of instructions on how to search for different kinds of train videos on YT: https://globalvoices.org/2015/07/26/how-to-explore-japan-by-train-without-ever-leaving-home/
posted by My Dad at 3:39 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


See also SHINKALION!!!!!

The lady whose voice is used for English announcements on the Shinkansen is Australian. It's a bit weird looking out the window at Fuji while you eat rice balls and slurp a Suntory only to have somebody who sounds like your mum announce that the next station will be Mishima.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:15 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Once I was on a business trip to Japan and got too drunk as one does in Tokyo and got on the wrong train the next morning and then passed out and woke up 300km from my meeting.

Wait, what are we talking about?
posted by 256 at 4:16 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


A few months ago I went to the train museum in Nagoya which is pretty nice. They even have some good train simulators, although unfortunately you have to win like a free lottery thing to use the shinkansen simulator (I did get to play with the "normal" train simulators).

They also have a ride simulator for the Chuo Shinkansen (which won't be running for like 10 years) which they refer to as the "Linear Motor Car" (rinia mo-ta- ka-) [in the West we usually call this a maglev]. Tokyo to Osaka in a little over an hour (distance wise comparable to LA to SF).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:35 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


The new train museum in Kyoto is also fantastic. Amazing, really. It's easily a four-hour experience, and there is an affordable cafeteria that overlook the rail yard and the Tokaido line.

We've taken our kids a bunch of times to the older museum it replaced in Bentencho, in Osaka, and we were sad when it closed. But the Kyoto museum is something else. It's built on the site of the old railway turntable for Kyoto, and there are a ton of old steam locomotives on display, including the "imperial" or official locomotive of the Show emperor (Hirohito).

The great thing about the Kyoto railway museum is that it's spacious, and it's a good place to take kids. Kyoto used to be kind of a challenging place to take our younger kids because no kid wants to go to more than one temple or historic site, and the shopping streets like Karasuma are too too crowded, especially on a Sunday. Eiga-mura is also sort of out of the way.

The railway museum is near Kyoto Station, and it's also close to the new aquarium, and I would wager both attractions were planned with attracting more families to Kyoto in mind.
posted by My Dad at 5:53 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Well, Twitter was getting a bit dull, so this hits the spot.

Sounds like someone doesn't know there's a twitter for japanese wood joinery gifs.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:34 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


Amongst the other assorted items of wonderfulness, the railway museum in Saitama has a great exhibition about how the Shinkansen came to be. My favourite exhibit is a white and blue model of the steam locomotive that was part of the plan back in the early 20th century to run a high-speed service between Tokyo and Shimonoseki.

I keep wondering though; once the maglev links Osaka and Tokyo, who's going to use the old-fashioned shinkansen then?
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 1:30 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I rode on the Shinkansen once, when I was 6 and was briefly in Japan with my family. The main thing I remember was how powerfully it accelerated, to the point of feeling gently pushed back into my seat in a way that one doesn't usually feel on trains; that and the smoothness/quietness of the ride.

Many years later, I saw the Shinkansen carriage they have in the National Railway Museum in York (worth going to in itself); it's one of the original first-generation ones, with the bulbous nose. The thing that most struck me then was how wide the carriage was; inside, it was 3+3 seats, and felt more like being aboard an airliner than a train. (They had to transport the carriage to York entirely by road, on a wide-goods lorry, because Britain's railway loading gauge is the opposite of wide.)
posted by acb at 2:04 AM on February 7


I keep wondering though; once the maglev links Osaka and Tokyo, who's going to use the old-fashioned shinkansen then?

They'll probably get cascaded to other lines which haven't been maglevved yet. There are quite a few Shinkansen lines in Japan.
posted by acb at 2:05 AM on February 7


From my balcony I have a view of the Shinkansen line passing in front of Mazda Stadium, home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. I see Dr. Yellow a couple times a month.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:12 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


There's a train museum in Kyoto?? Well, shit. I was there 3 years ago and stayed in the hotel above the station and I had no idea about that.

(Google tells me it only opened in 2016 so I feel better about that now, but clearly I have to go back)
posted by corvine at 5:24 AM on February 7


The poster art for that museum Is wonderful.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:43 AM on February 7


A few months ago I went to the train museum in Nagoya which is pretty nice. They even have some good train simulators, although unfortunately you have to win like a free lottery thing to use the shinkansen simulator (I did get to play with the "normal" train simulators).

They had a shinkansen simulator for the PlayStation 2; it was available in Japan only, and came with a control stick one used for applying traction/braking. It was one of the playable exhibits in an exhibition of video games at the Science Museum in London around 2009; while the text is all in Japanese, if you accelerate too sharply, it shows an animation of a passenger being pushed back into their seat by the acceleration force.
posted by acb at 6:28 AM on February 7


They are amazing trains: the speed doesn't seem real until something like a bridge passes by with a shockwave. I was there long enough ago that it was the first-gen (fast and) bulbous-nosed trains that were running. Equally remarkable was the tiny little rural one-car trundler we took to the middle of Shikoku: straight out of Spirited Away.

sebastienbailard, that TheJoinery_jp account is unfair. I can't imagine the animations as having anything but a polite (if perhaps synthesized) voice saying the name of the joint, a discreet ting!, then a gently sandpapery ksshhh … as the pieces slide together.
posted by scruss at 6:53 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


They're good trains, Brent.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:09 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


They had a shinkansen simulator for the PlayStation 2

I had a couple of the original Densha De Go ("Let's Go by Train") games for the first Playstation. We moved, I don't know what happened to them, and that makes me unhappy.
posted by My Dad at 8:10 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


"The train's called “Shinkansen's Monster”."

My boys, who love the Shinkansen but both have little-kid speech impediments still, call it "the Shinkanstein." (And, yes, I tell them "Actually, the doctor is Shinkanstein, the TRAIN is Shinkanstein's monster" and they look at me funny.)

Also everyone should know that the test train that checks the track and line for flaws is called DOCTOR YELLOW.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


More Doctor Yellow (this guy has an awesome YouTube channel; he also goes to China and takes videos of old steam trains still in service there).
posted by My Dad at 10:24 AM on February 7


I rode on the Shinkansen once, when I was 6 and was briefly in Japan with my family. The main thing I remember was how powerfully it accelerated, to the point of feeling gently pushed back into my seat in a way that one doesn't usually feel on trains; that and the smoothness/quietness of the ride.

I think about it when I ride VIA Rail up here in Canada. Sob.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:17 PM on February 7


I keep wondering though; once the maglev links Osaka and Tokyo, who's going to use the old-fashioned shinkansen then?

People who want to save money. For example, right now the JR Pass does not cover the Nozomi and Mizuho (fastest) trains.

For example, on the Tokaido line, Nozomi is the fastest, followed by Hikari, and the slowest is Kodama.

I expect the Linear Motor Car to be even more expensive than Nozomi tickets.
posted by thefoxgod at 5:28 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


My company's office in Tokyo has (or had, I havent checked for it recently) a full Densha De Go simulator arcade machine, its pretty neat. (Some arcades might have them too but I don't usually see them).

The Nagoya museum also had a lot of neat exhibits on how various parts of the Shinkansen tech works, what happens when there's an earthquake, etc.

On the price thing --- many Japanese don't use Shinkansen very often for the same reason many Americans don't fly very often --- a combination of price and where you go. My wife (who until 2 years ago lived in Japan her whole life) had only ridden one time before she met me (that number is considerably higher now as we've traveled around a lot). She would use bus or local trains instead (even on routes that would be served by Shinkansen, it was just too expensive).

Last time I checked it was cheaper to fly from Osaka to Tokyo than to take Shinkansen, although this probably varies over time.
posted by thefoxgod at 5:35 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I've read that company transportation allowances are helping fill the Tokaido shinkansen between Nagoya and Tokyo. People live in Kanagawa, Shizuoka or even Aichi and commute into Tokyo, with the shinkansen fares subsized by their employer. The practice of subsidizing the commute has led, to a certain extent, of the "hollowing out" of human capital along the shinkansen lines, as people commute in to bigger markets.

As a family we take the shinkansen infrequently. It's much cheaper to drive someplace when you have kids.
posted by My Dad at 6:06 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the other thing that some tourists/foreigners don't realize is that a lot of Japanese do actually have and use cars to get around (I mean, this should be obvious since everyone knows Japanese cars, but I've talked to a lot of people who assume that all Japanese just use the trains). Especially like you said, for families cars scale price-wise better than trains or planes. And buses are much cheaper if you don't have a car.

The practice of subsidizing the commute has led, to a certain extent, of the "hollowing out" of human capital along the shinkansen lines, as people commute in to bigger markets.

My inlaws live in Yamanashi, which has no shinkansen lines. People there seem split on whether it would be a good thing --- obviously travel to Tokyo/etc would be easier, but there would be more commuters and it would definitely change the feel -- and the price (housing/rent is super cheap compared to Tokyo). The lack of high speed train is also how it manages to maintain a more "country" feel despite being fairly close to Tokyo.

I'd probably end up one of those commuters if it was reasonable to get to Tokyo (right now its ~2 hrs each way on the Chuo line --- I know people who actually commute daily this way but thats way too much for me).
posted by thefoxgod at 7:55 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Alls I know about Yamanashi is that it's supposed to be super duper hot in the summer. Is it easy to get to Hakone?
posted by My Dad at 6:11 PM on February 8


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