The Japan Files: Trains

Let’s talk about transportation a little. My story has multiple settings and the characters move between and within those settings. From an American-style military base to a hospital to an orphanage through a city to a series of shrines, my characters have to get about somehow. For the most part, they drive. In early drafts, though, trains are kind of a big deal.


And not just because they can be surprisingly comfy.

I’ve town the New York subway before but the Japanese railway system is a whole different animal. THIS is what I wanted my trains to be like! It is fast, efficient, and one of the most popular forms of transportation in the country.

So I may be working trains back into my story, especially as long distances will have to be traveled quickly in a few different scenes. Since this is a far-future setting, I don’t see why those can’t be my version of bullet trains.

I think the two most inspiring things about the Japanese railway system are as follows:
1. The station signage can be incredibly confusing even though everything was also on English. My friend, who had lived there for over a year by that point, and I both got lost a couple times in unfamiliar stations. Perfect setting for a chase scene.
2. The Japanese name their trains. THEY NAME THEIR TRAINS PEOPLE. And it’s not like trains here where you’re on the orange line or whatever, the bullet trains get their own actual names (in fact, every one-off character in my book with a Japanese sounding name will be named after a bullet train). We rode the Nozomi, the Sakura, and Japan is even building an Evangelion-themed bullet train called, you guessed it, Eva!

So many story ideas, so little time.

It’s a brief post today as I am trying to get ready for #PitchWars in August and this a major writing weekend. That’s all for now on the Japan Files!
Remember, the ideas are out there.

P.S. Here’s a video I shot while we were on the bullet train. This was one of the last ones we rode and it wasn’t quite as fast as another one but still pretty cool.




Author: V. Kane

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @ValkyrieWriting or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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