The ride on the Shinkansen to Nagasaki was quite an experience… especially for one passenger in particular. Okaasan thought that we should turn our seats to face one another. So she flipped the lever and attempted to turn the row of seats 180 degrees, not realizing that the man in the next row was reclining with his head clearly in its path. As the seats gained momentum I could see what was about to happen… Too late! The seat smacked into the sleeping passenger. His head bounced from side to side before finally coming to a stop at the center of his shoulders. Undeterred, Okaasan took a step back and started forward again. And again the seat collided with the man’s head but with much greater force this time. Finally, the man wisely attempted to move out of the way but not fast enough!

The final assault on the man’s head snapped it forward, just long enough for the seats to pass by and click into place. Yumi and I were stunned, unable to say a word. The man dared a small glance back at his assailant. But amazingly he never said a word about it (Though I swore I could see the look of terror in his eyes when she stood up once again). Okaasan had decided she needed something from her suitcase which rested on the rack above the half-dazed man. Leaning over him, she clutched the handle of the suitcase and pulled, sumimasen, and pulled, sumimasen, and pulled. As it turns out not only was it stuck, it also wasn’t even her suitcase but the lady’s in the next row – who finally convincing her to give up the tug-o-war. Sumimasen.