Crossing Shikahama

Late at night, back after a solitary dinner out, I entered the gates of a nearby station.

The platform was deserted. Waiting for the train, I looked up the timetable. That’s when I realised I missed my ride.

As I couldn’t exit the gates, and no one was around to serve, I turned to the intercom behind me. Soon after I pushed the call button, I heard the voice of a young man:

– Yes, this is the station clerk.

– Excuse me. I entered the gates without realising the last train already left, so I’d like to get out.

– Understood, sir. Please turn around and walk to the nearest fare adjustment counter.

– Oh, sure.

As I looked for the sort of ticket dispenser he was referring to, he was undoubtedly watching me through the cameras hanging off the ceiling. When I was lost, he added:

– This way, sir.

Looking towards where the voice came from, a light lit up just above the fare adjustment counter. He proceeded further:

– Please insert your commuter card to cancel your entry, and I will dispense a ticket for you to use to exit the gate.

Like he discribed, a second after I inserted my plastic card, a tiny orange ticket came out.

I thanked him as I went on my way out, for a long walk home, past midnight, crossing Shikahama…