The Hard Return

Coming back home on Wednesday night was a real bitch. Tokyo and its surrounding areas were hit by a huge thunderstorm, which paralyzed the Yamanote line. I was teaching in the Chiba area, and when I got back to Tokyo and switched at Nippori, I hopped on a Yamanote train that was not about to move, with people just sitting and waiting. They were giving announcements, which I couldn’t completely understand, and since most of the people were staying in the train, I figured I just had to wait a while. But after about 20-30 minutes of waiting, and seeing some people get up and leave, I started paying more attention to the announcements, and sort of figured out that I could get back to Ikebukuro by using a certain detour. So instead of my 10 minute ride from Nippori to Ikebukuro on the Yamanote, I was stuck taking the Joban line back to Ueno, then changing to the Utsunomiya line to get to Akabane, where I finally hopped on the Saikyo line to get to Ikebukuro. Didn’t take that long actually since there weren’t that many stops on the various lines, but it was still a pain. Glad it doesn’t happen often (last year it happened only once, but it was worse as there were no alternative routes for getting back, and I had to wait a couple of hours before heading back home).