One of the funny talks I had often (with the station staff) during my travel in Japan went like this:

“Excuse me, I forgot to use Suica earlier.”

“No problem. Where did you travel to?”

(trying to remember it) “From A to B.”

“Sure, no problem. (doing the time magic) Here you are.”

Suica is a prepaid smart card used in the Greater Tokyo area for riding trains and buses. Other uses include paying for coin lockers at the stations and shopping (as a rechargeable e-wallet). Suica can be used in other regions, if the cards are compatible.

When I was coming back from the trip I often forgot that I rode the train using Suica, not JR Pass, which bought in advance let you ride almost all the Japan Railway trains for free. So, I was just showing my JR Pass to the officer near the gates and went through instead of using Suica and ticket gates again.

You have to use Suica to enter the station and use it again after arrival on the desired station. Otherwise the money won’t be deducted and you won’t be able to use your card again. I was too used to used-only-on-entrance Warsaw public transport pass so whenever I wasn’t paying attention (aka tired) I forgot about it.

I wonder if the station staff saw how many times I had to have my Suica corrected. They never commented on it. And they always were patient towards me. Luckily, I always had this talk in Japanese, so (I think) it didn’t bring up anxiety for me or for the other side.

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