October 24, 2013
Ticket to ride
Cleaning out a filing cabinet, I found a bunch of old train passes from two-plus decades ago: Nakamozu (中百舌鳥) in Suminoe to Nakafuto (中ふ頭) in Port Town, with allowed transfers as far as Tennouji (天王寺) and West Umeda (西梅田).
This particular pass was for the month of June. The "1" means Heisei 1, according to the nengou system. The Showa emperor (Emperor Hirohito) died on January 7, making 1989 the last year of Showa and the first year of Heisei (Emperor Akihito).
By comparison, here's a 250 yen paper ticket to Ryokuchi-kouen (緑地公園). I was probably going to the park on my day off. It's a couple of stops north of Umeda.
These passes are made from flexible plastic with a magnetic strip on the back. You stuck the pass (or paper ticket) in a slot while going through the turnstiles, it zipped through the electronic reader, and would be waiting for you when you exited.
Of course, that technology is so last century. Now it's all RFID. (The paper tickets are still the same.)