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  • It's not often when you think of a country you instantly think of the trains

  • and yet say the word Japan and that is exactly what comes to mind

  • Since the bullet train was first introduced in

  • 1964 it quickly stole the world's imagination and perch a pan on the map as a technological innovator

  • With a top speed of 200 miles per hour, until today

  • they've not only carried 10 billion passengers, but remarkably in over 50 years of service there's not yet

  • been a single passenger fatality or injury G to a train accident.

  • The Japanese word for bullet train is "Shinkansen"

  • Which literally translates as "new trunk line" a reference to the railway tracks upon which they travel

  • bullet trains come in three classes: ordinary, "economy class"

  • Which is already pretty spacious and luxurious by the standards of most trains

  • followed by "green class" effectively business class with larger reclining seats

  • and more recently since 2011

  • a true first-class option has been introduced called "grand class"

  • complete with cabin attendants and excitement.

  • Today Riotaro and I have been invited by JR East the company that owns the bullet trains

  • to try grand class for the first time ourselves with rare access to film inside the cabin.

  • We'll also be giving budget travel tips riding the trains on a budget

  • So hopefully by the end of this video you'll be an expert on all things bullet train

  • But our journey today starts in the city of Morioka,

  • a two-hour ride north of Tokyo and one of the only spots you can

  • watch two bullet trains connect with the robotic arms tucked away in the nose cone of the train.

  • Wow, it was like a robot, it was like a Gundam, like in real world

  • All right

  • So what we just saw is that there are two trains kind of going apart and one was red one was green and a red

  • one actually goes to

  • Akita and the name of the train is Komachi and that's named after a cute Akita girl

  • And the green one here is for Hayabusa named after Falcon. The third Falcon is really fast

  • Looks like some sort of mating ritual as the red train creeps up on the Hayabusa

  • male

  • Female.

  • Well, I suppose the Komachi is literally means Akita girl

  • Let's face it. It's the girl approaching the guy, right?

  • In this case, yeah. It's always like that

  • It's always like the guy waiting for a girl girl.

  • That's how it works for Riotaro. The girls always come to him

  • The Highway-Buses says it's the fastest Shinkansen in Japan and its top speed

  • It could rock it through the countryside at 200 miles per hour.

  • Not that you'd necessarily know from the comfort of the cabin.

  • Even now after riding bullet trains for like 7 years

  • I'm still in awe of the amount of seat pets you get on the standard seats. These seats here are

  • 98 centimeters a pitch I can barely reach the seat in front of me if my outstretched my arm

  • I've got a normal human sized arm and a 44 with 44 centimeters wide. So it's pretty spacious

  • The second thing is it's so smooth

  • It's kind of gliding on air because every single wheel on the carriage of a bullet train is powered

  • So if you imagine a four-wheel-drive vehicle

  • It's like a 200 wheel drive vehicle.

  • In the moment people sit down or a train they whip out their drink or snack. And what do we got?

  • What the heck is that

  • "Ume" is like a sour plum flavor.

  • Oh God, what I 've done?

  • This is the worst way to ride a bullet train, with a mouth full of sour plum sweets

  • Whenever british friends of mine come to Japan, they're always envious, they have these sort of trains

  • There's definitely a sense that Japan needs. Given how mountainous the country is without bullet trains

  • you can turn a journey into a nightmare. For example, Sendai to Tokyo if you drive here

  • how long is it? like five hours. If you got a bullet train you can do it in 90 minutes

  • So I ride the bullet train between

  • Sendai and Tokyo at least once a month and costs about 1100 yen, a 100 dollars.

  • How often do you ride the bullet train?

  • Every week.

  • Every week?!

  • Proper business man.

  • "Proper business man", yeah.

  • Freelance person?

  • Freelance... think about that though

  • If you do ride the bullet train between Tokyo and Sendai, there's a pretty good chance

  • you might run into Riotaro

  • And you 'll get...

  • plumsweet if you say hello to me.

  • Good reason not to ride the bullet train between Tokio and Sendai

  • Halfway on our journey to Tokyo with my mouth forever broken by the taste of sour plums

  • We hop off the train at Fukushima station

  • to witness the intense sight and the bullet train blasting past us at full speed. So

  • Bullet trains don't stop at every station,

  • this one going between Tokyo and Sendai for example doesn't stop here at Fukushima station

  • but what that means is when you stand here

  • in about 5 - 10 minutes a bullet trains gonna pass through here at 300 km/h

  • a 17 car bullet train passing through here...

  • and people come up here just to watch it because it's quite a scenes in the hole you

  • Can hear it right rumbling in the distance like a thunderstorm

  • and then before you know it it's shot right through it.

  • Okay, here it comes here comes

  • Is coming, is coming! IS COMING!

  • Oh oh oh my God! (laughs)

  • Did you see that!

  • That was quick as hell

  • Before hopping on our next train to Tokyo with about 20 minutes to spare one of us is feeling a bit peckish

  • fortunately

  • every major station in Japan is the ultimate in fast food where a single dish of noodles

  • can be whipped up in about 20 seconds taking a further 20 seconds for Riotaro to make it magically disappear

  • I'm hungry. So I'm going to get..

  • tempura, which is number 2.

  • Okay, so I'm gonna press this

  • gonna touch that

  • There you go

  • And what's most important is like ther're choices of like soba or udon

  • where you have to mention about soba or udon

  • (both) Sumimasen!

  • R: Soba please.

  • Attendants: Thank you very much

  • This is how quick is

  • Attendant: Here you 've the chopsticks.

  • There's so many people, you know, like having brief short time to transit

  • to all get on the train.

  • how long was that how long it takes to make that?

  • I think that...(japanese) 15 seconds?

  • 15 seconds can you believe that.

  • Is the miracle of standing

  • It's

  • The 460,000 commuters passing through Tokyo Station every single day

  • It's the third busiest station in Japan after Shinjuku and Ikebukuro

  • coming from Tohoku, It's certainly a chaotic change of atmosphere

  • Thankfully no soon than we arrived,

  • we're already plotting our escape in the luxury of the grand club's cabin

  • It's my first time, well, our our first time to get on a grand class. The first pass seat of the Shinkansen ever

  • I live in Sendai and I see secrets all the time, but it's my very first time I'm really really excited

  • Even doors 're different

  • Look at this!

  • You know, I feel now it's so quiet

  • it's like all... like the moment you come in here is like the whole air is different like...

  • -The air is different?

  • -Right different air

  • You know in the car in Shinkansen, there's no door but like airplane there're doors like this.

  • and can put your jacket

  • Jesus it's more like being on an airplane than a train.

  • Look at this the whole thing

  • The whole seat moves like a first-class airplane seat. Oh my God

  • What else is gonna do? like there's like a button to actually call the cabin attendant,

  • like in the airplane again.

  • This seat is absolutely huge, 52.5 centimeters across

  • With a pitch of 1.3 meters last time on the last train with our scientific experiment,

  • we found we couldn't touch the seat in front.

  • Here you'd be like 2 arms

  • when you sit down you get an issue body hot towel and a menú

  • because there's complimentary food and drink in the ground class cabin.

  • Now I think we'll get some sake, because I want to take advantage of this rare special occasion

  • probably the first and last time I'll ever sit in a grand class seat.

  • So what I've got in front of me is a complimentary bento box

  • That comes for free when you're on the grand class. How luxury is that?

  • Ume ne! (sour plum)

  • See that is how you do a reaction

  • For this breeding like that looks like a snake

  • Stick it up. Sake in a bullet train. Is there anything better?

  • Oh, this must be the most comfortable seat I've ever sat in in my life.

  • Oh my god guys

  • This is it. This is it. This is the pinnacle of railway travel.

  • It doesn't come cheap though

  • It is about US$ 750 to ride in this seat from Tokyo to Hakodate, in Hokkaido.

  • Which is the longest distance you could do on this train?

  • I don't think I'll be doing it again the hurry because of the that.

  • So I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can right now.

  • Finish up this sake.

  • Hard at work there on his laptop

  • He's not doing anything he's not doing... would you ride this grand class again Riotaro? would you ever do it?

  • Oh, yeah, I would, lovely.

  • Of course he would what situation would you consider using grand class yourself?

  • My second honeymoon.

  • Your second honeymoon

  • I'm rather like you to go on a green card because they've got there's economy green and this one.

  • I do right the green car quite a bit just

  • because it's a great place to sit and edit and I need lots of space when I'm editing on the train I could turn it

  • you can turn the train ride into kind of productive bit of time.

  • Gran class would require a slightly more extreme situation

  • Probably if I was trying to impress someone.

  • Like in a honeymoon

  • Honeymoon.

  • Now it's time for the worst part of the journey

  • Getting off the ground class carriage. Oh

  • No