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Being that he’s a train on an island, you wouldn’t expect Thomas the Tank Engine to do much international traveling. However, thanks to a bit of clever storytelling (and Thomas’ absolute lack of compunction about stowing away on freight ships), the beloved locomotive has embarked on a globe-trotting tour in an ongoing video series.

In one of the most recent episodes, Thomas even arrives in Japan, where he takes in the local sites in a whirlwind visit that’s more Japanese than actually living in Japan.

Each installment of Thomas’ YouTube World Tour, as the series is titled, begins with the opening narration “Ever since Thomas the Tank Engine arrived on the island of Sodor, he had always wanted to see the world.” That’s actually a pretty stinging indictment of how boring life on Sodor must be, but hey, we’re the last people to discourage anyone from visiting Japan.

Travelling down the tracks, Thomas chugs past Mt. Fuji and an unusually sepia-toned castle before getting buzzed by a retro-version of one of Japan’s high-speed express trains.

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But it’s not just the efficiency of Japan’s public transit network that surprises Thomas. “Later on Thomas was picking up some passengers,” the narrator explains, “when he saw something he’d never seen.”

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Actually, we’ve never seen dudes doing kendo on the station platform either. Usually, Japanese sport’s take on sword fighting is done in gymnasiums or other controlled environments. Oh, and people stopped using actual blades somewhere around the time the feudal period ended.

▼ While we’re on the subject of unusual sights, Thomas also encounters a man in Japan wearing a suit that’s not black or navy!

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As a matter of fact, Thomas’ journey through Japan is filled with combat culture, as he also happens across two sumo wrestlers grappling in a field.

▼ Okay, maybe their training hall is being renovated and they decided to take the unorthodox method of setting up an outdoor ring, but who arranged for a referee in full uniform?

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Still, given the fact that there aren’t any train tracks that run directly into the main auditorium at Tokyo’s Budokan, Kokugikan, or any of the country’s other prominent martial arts venues, there really wasn’t too much flexibility in how to script these chance meetings for Thomas. And it’s not all sword strikes and neck slaps, as Thomas also picks up a bit of the local language, learning that konnichiha is how to say “good afternoon” in Japanese. Considering how popular the character is in Japan, we’re sure he’ll have plenty of chances to use his newly acquired vocabulary in the future.

Source, images: YouTube/Thomas & Friends