Shinkansen, the backbone of Japanese society

The Shinkansen is the high-speed train that crisscrosses Honshu, the main island of the archipelago.

"Oval Rising" I remember as a teenager, World Cup goals tasted bitter. Once the final was over and the chosen winner, I spent a few days of melancholy. The passage from the overflow to the void; to consider a new four year wait seemed insurmountable.

Yet this competition is well done, starting with a frenzy of play and testing every day of the week before returning to our uses, games on weekends, a logical and usual expectation. With a rise in power, a skimming both intoxicating and sad, leading to the supreme match of the sport, eighty minutes for posterity.

I was still a player at the last World Cup, in 2015 in England, and in my daily early season, the melancholy post-World had not reached me.

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But yesterday, along the Pacific coast at 320 km / h, I was certain that on the other hand next week, for my return to France, I will take it full force. These Japanese weeks sped like a Shinkansen at full speed, the heart boiling and emotions in electromagnetic suspension.

Supporters cheerful or tired, impatient or disillusioned, I met at high speed representatives of all nations.

Equipped with an unlimited Japan Rail Pass, I crisscrossed Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago, taking advantage of the most developed and the most efficient rail network on the planet. The organizers of the World Cup, like a technical staff, have shaped the project around their major asset.

Like the fans, the national teams involved in the competition have moved in recent weeks in "bullet train". If her sea eel physique and octopus head remained unchanged, the wagons accustomed to the cravats suits salary men have colored themselves. Supporters happy or tired, impatient or disillusioned, I met at high speed representatives of all nations, easily identified with the colors of their teams.

A crazy density

We quickly understand the rational and practical nature of the Japanese observing them, the World Cup is in their image, a model of common sense, respectful of tradition, in connection with their historical and cultural legacies. The Japanese rail is similar to the rest of the country, sprawling and abyssal, in constant innovation but inscribed in continuity.

Half of the host cities have been designated along the old Tokaido route. On the central island of the Archipelago, "The old way of the eastern sea", connecting Kyoto to Tokyo. Paved trail from the beginning of the Edo era (1604), which became in 1872 the first railway in the country. The route became a road then a motorway and finally in 1964, the fastest line in the world, the Shinkansen Tokaido.

The Shinkansen is a revealer of Japanese society, a way to understand the effectiveness of his rugby team.

At each trip, the extent of Japanese urbanization disrupts our rail habits. While in France, a few minutes after departure, we cross large cereal plains and long forests, here we ride along a crazy density, the cities are linked continuously. Even streams are contained by concrete banks. On the hills, the cemeteries bring air, breathe the congested horizons.

But the real show is inside the Shinkansen, the clues left by the travelers allow us to glimpse some facets of the country. It is a revealer of Japanese society, a way to understand the effectiveness of his rugby team. Respect for the framework and discipline, the dedication of individuals for the proper functioning of the system. Passengers wait for trains in single file when the doors open. Inside, the silence is disturbing and discussions are low.

At the last World Cup, the impeccable locker room left by the Japanese after every game had attracted the admiration of the English. But here, in trains and on the docks, cleanliness is obvious.

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We also witness the most impressive talent of the Japanese, this ability to fall asleep in seconds in any position. I can not help but associate it with the serenity of the Brave Blossoms, this ability to find calm in the games at stake, under the pressure of the national waiting and the eyes of the world rugby.

Serious colors

The Shinkansen is the arterial network of Japan, allowing it the mobility necessary for its imperturbable functioning. Typhoon Hagibis led to the cancellation of matches but few trains. In a few days and until the arrival of the Olympic Games, cars will find their serious colors, occasionally variegated by tourists drowned in the flow of rail.

I will find the RER in a few days, tired eyes and heavy heart. I will then rethink my high speed journeys, views of misty mountains and the Pacific. I will imagine the colors of autumn on the hills, the glowing maples and the magnificent ginkgos. At 10,000 km from me, the Japanese will share my melancholy. The elimination of their national team and the imminent end of their World Cup plunges them day after day in a sweet but sad emotion. That of having dreamed so much, that everything went so fast.

Aristide Barraud

Aristide Barraud, 30, is a former professional rugby player. Ex-international under 20 years, he has notably played in the Top 14 with the French Stadium before exiling himself in the Italian league.

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