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Saving a Japanese railway man's face

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Several years ago, Iwas waiting on a shinkansen platform. 

There was already a shinkansen in the platform, but that one was not for me.

I was about 6 feet from the platform edge, to my right, at about 10 feet away was the platform porter with his red and green flags, about to give the 'right away'.Directly opposite me was the guards' compartment of the shinkansen, and the guard had his head out his open window, watching the platform porter.

I was watching the platform porter giving the rightaway, and the train began to move.

Suddenly, there was a cry, and looking back at the train, there on the platform was the guard's cap, and he, bare headed, was looking out with an expression of despair on his face!

I took two steps forward, bent down and picked up the cap, (I didn't knock it into the pit), then left turn and off after the train.

Shinkansens on starting accelerate only slowly, so Iwas able to catch up with the guard, who had his arm and head out of the window, and put the cap in his hand.

He slapped the cap on his head and gave me a big smile and a sketchy bow, before carefully withdrawing his head inside without knocking his cap off this time.

Back to my spot on the platform, the platform porter, who was too far away to do anything gave me a bit of a nod, and everything settled back to normal.

I wonder what would have happened to the guard if at the end of the run he signed off without his cap?

Probably banishment to Nemuro, way out at the eastern end of Hokkaido!





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