One Morning At Hakata Station, Fukuoka


Posted on 21 Jun 2018 21:00 in トラベルASKSiddhi by Yoko Deshmukh

"Anything irregular happening on JR could invite a great inconvenience, because of their passive attitude in responding to a minor situation."

I left a train at Hakata, leaving my bag on the overhead shelf. My goodness, again*!!

Immediately, I rushed to the station officer stood by the ticketing machine, saying that my bag was on the train just left Hakata. Unfortunately, he seemed not to bother understanding my sense of emergency and told me he wouldn't have any authority to be in touch with the running train. As such, he instructed me to go to the Lost and Found Counter about 200 meters away from there. Oh my, "Welcome to JR Kyushu," a kokutetsu-ish (the National Railways, JR's former corporate owned by the government) bureaucratic organisation.**

Hakata Station Building Facilities

Hakata Station's Lost and Found was a very tiny space, where an elderly officer was single-handedly handling people's grievous inquiries. I saw a middle-aged woman also inside, but she looked somewhat negligent (to poor idiots like us who keep losing things in and around trains and stations.) I explained to him all the situation, including the detailed timing and coach of the train where I left my bag, and emergency as well of my wallet and smartphone contained in the sack. He identified which was the last station for the train and told me that he would know whether the rucksack was safe or not only after it arrived there. In a minor panic state of mind, I tried to convince myself maybe it was a train without a conductor, even though it was a nine-coach long, and thus we shan't have bothered the driver for a tiny passenger's belonging.

So, the officer told me to wait for the train to arrive at Kurume, the final destination. Doubtful I was, though, I went to the most massive station counter adjacent to the Central Exit and asked them of attempting to communicate with the running train again, only to fail it again. I went back to the Lost and Found at sharp scheduled time of 11:58 AM, to see that he was busy handling other inquiries, who lost their belongings a couple of days or weeks ago. As he turned to me, I determined that he never contacted the train nor its final destination. Why was he so carefree? Does the similar situation happen so often? Under pressure of my plea, he finally called "the conductor of the running train" and asked him to check my bag. 

Eventually, I came to know from him that the same train would revert from Kurume and would arrive at Hakata again in around 40 minutes. "Let me find and collect the bag," I told him decidedly and asked which platform the train would come in. For some reasons, he was reluctant and trying to lose my hope. For example, he said the train would stop at Hakata merely a minute and so I might not have time to check each of possible cars. I told I wouldn't mind going back to the next station Yoshizuka, which was a minute away from Hakata, to find out my bag full of valuables. He also suggested me to wait for a day or two, or travel to Kokura, another final destination of the train. Why so complicated when I knew where the bag was? 

I nearly ignored him and went straight to the platform "2." Shortly after, I spotted "the conductor" who would be changing with the one on the train in concern. I explained to him the whole situation, and alas, he immediately assured me by telling me "don't worry much, your bag would be there." His words were right, his counterpart came down from the cabin with my bag in hand. Great applause! 

When I went back to report the elderly officer the collection of my belonging to the Lost and Found, his face instantly glowed! "All is well that ends well."

It was all my mistake and carelessness of leaving my bag on a running train. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but thinking that anything irregular happening on JR could invite the great inconvenience, because of their passive attitude in responding to a minor situation. 

*In my life, I have countless times lost things and recovered them, thanks to kind people in India and Japan. 
**I have very different, contrary experience with Tokyo Metro where I left my valuables on the running train a few years ago, similar to this case.


About the author

Yoko Deshmukh   (日本語 | English)         
インド・プネ在住歴10年以上の英日・日英フリーランス翻訳者、デシュムク陽子(Yoko Deshmukh)が運営しています。2003年9月30日からインドのプネに住んでいます。

ASKSiddhi is run by Yoko Deshmukh, a native Japanese freelance English - Japanese - English translator who lives in Pune since 30th September 2003.

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