Kobe police fail to appreciate the capacity-boosting innovation.

If you’re going out drinking in Japan, you’ve got a couple of things to think about. Are you going to go to a bar that primarily serves liquid refreshment, or an izakaya pub with a full menu of small dishes to munch on? Are you planning to drink enough that an all-you-can-drink deal will save you some cash, or do you foresee a less inebriated evening for yourself?

Before you answer any of those questions, though, the very first thing you need to do is check the time of the last train that will get you home. In general, train services in Japanese cities shut down around 1 a.m., and don’t start up again until the sun comes up, so missing the last train means either loitering in a bar until morning or dropping the cash for a night in a capsule hotel.

Of course, knowing what time your last train leaves is only half the battle. The other is giving yourself enough time to get to the station before it departs, something one man in Kobe only sort of did. On April 3, the 44-year-old office worker rolled up to Sannomiya Station, Kobe’s major downtown rail hub, hoping to get on the 1:06 a.m. Kobe Line train bound for Nishi Akashi Station in the city of Akashi, where he lives.

By the time the man reached the platform, the doors of the train were already closed. However, displaying the sort of outside-the-box thinking that can only come from the spinning of mental gears well-lubricated with alcohol, the man realized that just because he couldn’t get inside the train doesn’t mean he couldn’t ride it, and he climbed onto the outside of the carriage, with the aim to cling to the train as it made the 15-minute journey to Akashi Station, or perhaps the 19-minute voyage to Nishi Akashi, where the train would head into the depot for the night.

▼ Attempting feats of superhuman physical prowess immediately after heavy drinking is equal parts ill-advised and commonplace.

But while Japanese rail operators have an unparalleled zeal for stuffing passengers into their trains, they universally frown on them riding on the outside of them. A West Japan Railway station employee spotted the man and placed him in what reports describe as a “nelson body hold” (no word on whether full, three-quarter, or half), trying to pry him off.

However, the struggle initially went unnoticed by the train’s conductor, who began pulling away from the station with the man still hanging to the outside of the carriage. Once the conductor realized what was happening, he initiated an emergency stop, having travelled about seven meters (23 feet) with the inebriated extra passenger.

Officers from the Hyogo Prefectural Police Department’s Transportation Unit were soon on-site to place the man under arrest for forceful obstruction of business, which he admitted to while explaining “If I didn’t take that train, I wouldn’t have been able to make it home tonight.” The disturbance caused a 20-minute delay for the train’s roughly 700 passengers. By the time the man was processed, though, he was undoubtedly too late to be aboard, so he’ll just have to focus on the silver lining that being forcibly removed from the train means that he probably got his ticket price refunded.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso

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