It’s amazing that a Japanese train ticket machine has never been in the running when it’s time to elect a new pope, because they are about as close to infallible as a machine can get. You stick in your money, and – unlike the ticket machine I once encountered in San Francisco, which rained down $14.00 IN CHANGE like some sort of demented Vegas slot machine – even if you put in a ¥10,000 note (the equivalent of a hundred dollar bill), the machine spits out nice neat yen notes and perfect change along with your ticket.
But surely no machine can be THAT perfect! What happens when The Great And Mighty Oz DOES make a mistake? Well, hidden behind a notice so ordinary it’s the perfect disguise is…a secret door! And behind the little door is…Super Fixer! Yes, a real live train station employee stands behind the bank of ticket machines, making sure the cash is topped up in the change-making part, emptying the avalanche of money that comes in during the day, and being on call in case something goes wrong! Who knew?
Read a novel set in Tokyo
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!