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Yoshi, Chigusa:おはよう東京。
Yoshi: ヨシです。
Chigusa: チグサです。
Peter: Peter here. Survival phrases number 25. Alright. This is part one of a four part series over the new four weeks. What are we going to be covering Chigusa?
Chigusa: 電車
Yoshi: 新幹線
Chigusa: 地下鉄
Yoshi: 鉄道

Lesson focus

Peter: Trains, trains, trains, trains, Ok. That’s not the translation for all of them but we are going to break them down right now but over the next four weeks. Let’s put it this way. Yoshi San how important are trains to Japan
Yoshi: If I rank it from 1 to 10, 10
Peter: Exactly. I think you are being a little lower to you, I think you are being a little low there. Chigusa San, how important are they?
Chigusa: Can’t live without them.

Lesson focus

Peter: Nice way to put it. Yes, 10. Can’t live without them. The best thing. One of the things I like best about Japan is you can actually go everywhere by train. Well that is actually one of the best things and one of the worst things. Rush hour is the worst thing but any other time it is the best. Ok let's jump back real quick and break down the words that were introduced in the first part of the lesson. Chigusa San first one please. お願いします。
Chigusa: 電車
Peter: Train
Chigusa: で・ん・しゃ
Peter: Yoshi San?
Yoshi: 新幹線
Peter: Bullet train.
Yoshi: し・ん・か・ん・せ・ん
Chigusa: 地下鉄
Peter: Subway
Chigusa: ち・か・て・つ、地下鉄
Peter: Now the interesting thing about this word is what does the first word mean?
Chigusa: 地下 means underground.
Peter: And the next part, 鉄?
Chigusa: 鉄 means iron.
Peter: Yeah. So underground iron. It makes sense, subway, doesn’t it? Underground iron. The meaning behind the Chinese characters. Maybe help you remember this. Underground iron. And finally we had
Yoshi: 鉄道
Peter: A railway, railroad.
Yoshi: て・つ・ど・う、鉄道
Peter: And again the 鉄 is iron and this time 道(どう) is road. So these were the four words we introduced in the beginning. Coming from America, one of the most unique things is that there are many private railroads in Japan. Although you can go anywhere by rail, not usually by the same company. Usually during the middle of your trip you actually change companies, so you might not realize it but you are actually changing companies. So while riding the railroad in Japan is quite easy, the structure behind the rail system in Japan is quite confusing. Now those of you coming to travel to Japan, you will probably wind up riding primarily JR, which is short for Japan Rail. So what we are going to do now is introduce you to the 6 components that make up Japan Rails. First group is
Yoshi: JR九州
Peter: And if you can tell by the name, where is this rail system located?
Yoshi: In 九州
Peter: Next we have?
Chigusa: JR四国
Peter: Located on the island of?
Chigusa: 四国
Peter: Next?
Yoshi: JR西日本
Peter: JR West.
Chigusa: JR東日本]
Peter: JR East. JR Central.
Chigusa: JR北海道
Peter: JR Hokkaido. Now the rail system in Japan is no way limited to these 6 groups but these 6 groups make up the main part, the main backbone of Japan Rail. Now the reason we are talking about this is we want to talk today about the JR rail pass. Now this rail pass is a very useful rail pass for visitors planning to visit more than one location in Japan. Now we stress this more than one location. If you are just coming to Tokyo, yeah this is not for you. We have something else for you in a later lesson but this is really useful for traveling to more than one section. Furthermore this ticket doesn’t work on every line so there are a couple exceptions and a couple rules but for the most part if you plan to come to Japan and you are planning on doing a lot of traveling this is probably your best option. Ok. Now what we are going to do is tell you a little bit about this. Now first who is eligible? Chigusa San?
Chigusa: People coming into Japan on 短期滞在 which is people coming with temporary visitor visa.
Peter: So if you are coming for approximately 90 days you are eligible to buy this. Now foreign students who are living here, go back to their own country and then they plan to come back, yeah you can get this one, unless your visa is going to expire and you come back on, as Chigusa said, one more time please?
Chigusa: 短期滞在
Peter: Yes. Ok. Next up we have where to buy this?
Peter: It has to be bought outside Japan.
M; Yes, here is the key, outside Japan. As a Japan rail pass cannot be purchased inside Japan. So here is the tricky part. You don’t get it outside Japan either. You buy what is called an exchange order. It’s a piece of paper saying that you bought the pass. Then once you come to Japan you trade that exchange order for the pass itself, so you have to buy it outside Japan but you don’t get it before you get to Japan. Now here is the convenient thing. At both Narita and Kansai airports they have a place to exchange it so as soon as you get to the airport you can take your exchange order which you have to buy in a designated location. Check our homepage, japanesepod101.com to get those locations. You can exchange the exchange order for the rail pass itself and then once you have that you are free to go, free to travel to most places. Now there are few exceptions. For the exceptions please see our homepage. Now there are 2 types of rail pass. There is the green rail pass which is the first class one. Chigusa San sounds good?
Chigusa: Sounds good. That’s for me.
Peter: And what do we have for Yoshi San?
Chigusa: The ordinary pass.
Peter: Sorry Yoshi San. Now the difference between the two is that ordinary pass is obviously cheaper but you are kind of forced to ride in the free compartment and things like this. Now the all JR group railways includes 新幹線, the bullet trains, limited express trains, express trains and rapid or local trains. Now 新幹線 and most limited express and ordinary express trains have reserved the green car seats and both reserved and non reserved ordinary car seats. A non reserved seat can be used simply by showing your Japan rail pass. To get a reserved seat apply at any travel service center or reserve a seat ticket office みどりの窓口 at a JR station or at a sales office of a JR associated travel agency. There show your rail pass and obtain your reserved seat ticket before your trip. Sounds quite nice right?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: Now again there are certain exceptions, you know, and of course depending on the time of the year there might be certain exceptions again so it kind of depends on multiple variables but in most cases you will be alright. Now 新幹線 means bullet train. What’s the word for limited express train Yoshi San?
Yoshi: 特急電車
Peter: And break it down.
Yoshi: とっ・きゅ・う・で・ん・しゃ
Peter: Chigusa San what’s the word for express train?
Chigusa: 急行電車
Peter: Break it down.
Chigusa: きゅ・う・こ・う・で・ん・しゃ
Peter: Next we have rapid.
Yoshi: 快速電車
Peter: Break it down
Yoshi: か・い・そ・く・で・ん・しゃ、快速電車
Peter: And a local train that stops at every station?
Chigusa: 各駅停車
Peter: Break it down.
Chigusa: か・く・え・き・て・い・しゃ、各駅停車
Peter: Ok. Now the reason we are bringing this up is many times if you are going to visit a smaller location the train won’t stop at that location. So you should really want to, before you get on the train as there are many types of trains, you want to just confirm if the train is going to stop at your desired location. Obviously if you are in the 新幹線 and you are going to Kyoto you are going to be ok, but if you are going few stops before that most likely you are going to have to go to Kyoto, change trains and then get to your destination. Now that’s where the express, the rapid and all the other trains come in. You want to know, is the train you are about to get on going to where you want to go. Yoshi San, how do we ask that in Japanese?
Peter: この電車はどこどこ駅に停まりますか?
Peter: Will this train stop at where? Alright yes, I got a little carried away there. We have to obviously fill in the station, but どこどこ, where where, that would be the name of the station. So Yoshi San can break this down for us piece by piece. Actually you know what, Chigusa San もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。
Chigusa: この、でんしゃは、どこどこえきに、とまりますか?
Peter: And one time fast.
Chigusa: この電車はどこどこ駅に停まりますか?
Peter: Ok. So, I used to live in Ibaraki so let’s ask if this train is going to stop in Hitachi? Yoshi San お願いします。.
Yoshi: この電車は、日立駅に停まりますか?
Chigusa: はい、停まります。
Peter: And if not?
Chigusa: いえ、停まりません。
Peter: Ok. So let’s have Chigusa San ask Yoshi San. Chigusa San, where do you want the train to stop? What’s the name of the station?
Chigusa: 渋谷?
Peter: Come one, all the trains stop at Shibuya
Chigusa: 代々木
Peter: Come on, think countryside.
Chigusa: I’ve never been to the countryside, Peter.
Peter: Really?
Chigusa: I am a city girl.
Peter: How about Nagasaki?
Chigusa: Nagasaki.
Peter: Come on, think small. Alright, alright.
Chigusa: Ok.Funabashi. Chiba.
Peter: There we go
Chigusa: OK. すみません。この電車は、舟橋に停まりますか?
Yoshi: はい、停まりますよ。
Peter: Alright. You are in luck. Now this time it doesn’t.
Yoshi: いいえ、停まりません。
Peter: So in that case you have to find out which train you can take. How do we ask that?
Chigusa: I think the best thing to do is to go to the station master and ask for help.
Peter: Yeah. And also there is information so you can either go there or you can, but the station master will help you or direct you to information where you can get the help. Good idea. Alright. So now you have your pass, plus you can ask where the train stops. Now check this out. This pass can also be used for local lines of JR bus companies. This pass you can also use it on the bus. Hokkaido bus, Tohoku bus, Kanto bus, Tokai bus, West Japan, many, many more. Now apparently it’s not available for some airport services but in other places it is and even in addition to that apparently this is also available for a ferry, the JR Miyajima ferry. So with just this pass you can get around Japan. Now the prices will have some links on our page. Again if this is what you are after, this is what you are looking for stop by japanesepod101.com. We are going to have a lot of links there today jumping to other pages showing you prices and some other things about this. Again if you come into Japan, you are going to be here for a little while, traveling to multiple destinations. This is something you really want to check out. If you are going to be in just one location we have some stuff for you too. Remember when we were talking about JR Kyushu? There is actually a rail pass just for Kyushu that you can use for just JR Kyushu but this one is, I heard is only available for foreigners, so just people coming to visit Japan can buy this rail pass for Kyushu and you can actually go all around Kyushu on a rail pass. Shikoku has a rail pass. Hokkaido has a rail pass. Now this is separate from the one that we were talking about before. Again the one we were talking about before kind of works for everything but now the Kyushu one that we just mentioned, Shikoku one, Hokkaido one, these are just for those locations. I’ve personally had the experience of taking the Tohoku one for 5 days for 10,000 yen, about 100 US$, 5 days as much as I could ride. Just taking a train all around, although it was a local train so it took a lot of time , but still. So they have a ton of other deals so that’s why, before you come here determine where you are going, then come to our home page and check it out and see which one suits you the best. Alright. So today took a while. A lot of information in there.
Chigusa: A lot. I learned a lot. Thank you Peter.


Peter: About the rail pass. Excellent way to get around Japan. Now we are going to be back next week talking more about rail travel. Alright. So that’s going to do for today.
Yoshi: またね。
Chigusa: またね。


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