The shinkansen is the crown jewel of Japan’s transportation network, whisking passengers across the country at high speeds with amazing punctuality. However, for the second time in a week, Japan’s bullet trains have suffered a black eye, this time by way of a literal whack on the head.
On the morning of Nov 9, Naotaka Kasuya, a 69-year-old resident of Tokyo’s Hachioji City, was on board the Nozomi Shinkansen that runs from Tokyo to Fukuoka. According to other passengers, Kasuya was visibly drunk, and not in neither the jovial nor sleepy way. He was seen bumping into a female passenger and heard angrily accosting other male passengers with “What are you, a woman or something?”
Then, at some point after the train pulled out of Shin-Yokohama Station, Kasuya took out his phone and used it to hit another passenger, a 53-year-old man, over the head. Reports refer to the weapon as a keitai denwa, a term that’s often used to describe flip phones, as opposed to smartphones, suggesting that in addition to being a lush and a jerk, Kasuya may also be a luddite.
The incident took place at around 8 a.m., and considering that it takes about an hour from Hachioji to the closest stations where one can transfer to the Shinkansen, it seems like Kasuya either got a very early start drinking that day or was hopping on the train after an all-night binge. Either way, his bender came to an end when the train made an unscheduled stop at Mishima Station in Shizuoka Prefecture, which the Nozomi Shinkansen usually passes right by, so that police officers could board the train, arrest him for assault, and take him into custody at 8:12 a.m.
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