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If you’re a mass transit commuter in (insert basically any city) you’re used to one thing, and one thing only: delays. Actually scratch that – two things – cancellations and delays. Never could we collectively imagine trains, busses or underground systems consistently running on time. In Japan, commuter problems are slightly different. A train running perfectly on time, left 20 seconds early and the subsequent reaction has been priceless.

The Tsukuba express train, operating between Tokyo and Tsukuba was operating perfectly on time, just like virtually every other train in Japanese history. But then a fateful mistake occurred, stranding passengers used to a system of absolute perfection. The train, scheduled to depart at 9:44 and 40 seconds, left at 9:44 and 20 seconds. That 20 seconds, could clearly make all the difference in planning a morning commute.

“The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation.”

Is this not everything that makes Japan wonderful? The company issued a formal apology for the early departure, despite no one actually complaining. The BBC has since offered wonderful coverage of the public outcry, by which we mean people in other countries taking to social media to chastise their local rail and commuter services. Read, enjoy, laugh.

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