I’ll Pass


Does anyone else have issues with the IT chip train pass card thingies? Because at our house they cause all kinds of trouble.

Basically this a card that you “charge” money onto, then place on top of a sensor at the train gate. It makes a beeping sound, the gates open and voila you can ride the train or subway of your choice without having to look at a confusing fare map to find out how much to pay and without having to buy a ticket.

Children under elementary school age ride trains and buses for free. Elementary kids ride for half price.

Yes, that’s the trouble. Brother has to pay, but Sister rides for free. Thus Brother has a “peeper” and Sister is deprived of the pleasure. If it’s just Sister and I going somewhere, she’s usually happy enough to peep mine for me and go about her day. But when it is the whole family out, quel tragique, she is the only one without a pass of her own.

Maybe if we didn’t live on a horribly overpriced line I would just let her have her own bleeping beep card, but by Jove those train fares really add up. HRH’s company pays for his commuter pass, so he doesn’t feel the pinch. Those of us who aren’t busy doing something to which society attaches a monetary value would prefer those children who can ride for free, do so.

Me Too started freaking out about this before we even left the house yesterday. Brother was in mid-freak because he couldn’t find his freakin’ wallet with the beepin’ card and Sister decided to add to the fun. It just seemed horribly unfair to her because she is positive she would never ever misplace such a fun and valuable item.

HRH gave Sister an old bus card, the kind you actually put inside a machine on the bus back in the olden days before everything was just beeped to death. The bus card has a rainbow on it.


That kept her happy, until we actually got to the train station. I tried to fool her by making a “beep” sound when she proudly tapped it on the sensor. I got the look of death for my efforts. Then I carried her under my arm, football style, to avoid her getting trampled by the line of beepers coming through the gate and rushing to their overpriced, rip-off train.

So I think I’ll pass on taking her anywhere for a while. Unless one of you guys can convince the oyaji over at Japan Rail to make a card that beeps for children who don’t actually need one. It would be a huge waste of money and technology. (Pause.) So we can probably totally get them to do that!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katee
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 14:02:38

    I’m sorry but I laughed my butt off over here when I read about the death glare. I can totally imagine this. I would see about proposing some toy maker to come up with a little plastic card that has a little button or sensor that beeps on its own. Might annoy you until she gets her own, but it sounds like a cheaper option. Just throwing out an idea. Good luck! ★


  2. gaijinwife
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 13:14:29

    Getting a preschoolers beep card sounds like a great idea. I think you should market it. Then if they make a commerical during prime-time TV you’ll have a nation of five year olds wanting to take trains – and I’ll personally hold you responsible when Shou and Marina want me to drive forty minutes to the closest train station so they can ride one stop so they can beep their card. Actually, I don’t think we even have beepers down here. Heck, half the time the station isn’t even manned!!

    But it would surely make your life easier. Perhaps you just need to practice your beep sounds until you sound more professional?


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