The Wooden Train / 木製の電車


“I think I got my first train set when I was four – one of those colourful wooden block ones you just slot together and push the train over the track yourself. I don’t quite know where my fascination came from, or why I asked for it in the first place. Unlike most kids in central Tokyo, I didn’t even grow up near a train station. Our small, cube-like family apartment was sandwiched in between Shimokitazawa and Nakano meaning we would take the bus everywhere during the week, only taking train trips on the weekend out to see my grandparents in Chiba. Maybe that’s what made it special – the fact it was more of a treat as opposed to a daily ritual. In any event, it had a big effect on me as a child, the way these somewhat trivial things do at that age. My chunky wooden train was soon upgraded to an electric train set, and by the age of thirteen I pretty much knew what I wanted to do for a living. And so, here I am – twenty years after that first wooden train – working as a ticket-gate inspector at Ikebukuro station. It’s not a glamorous job, nor did I expect it to be. But it’s the job I always knew I would do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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