No Ticket? No Problem.
So this is what will happen in the UK if your train ticket is lost, incorrect or you haven’t yet purchased one for your journey:
1. you will immediately find yourself on the receiving end of comments laden with disdain, suspicion and accusations.
2. the staff will attempt to detain you and usually will condescendingly deliver a mandatory on-the-spot fine for “fare evasion”.
3. you will be told in no uncertain terms that the threat of court action hangs over your head if the fine isn’t paid in full.
Conflict, stress, arguments, resentment.
And in Japan? Well, things could hardly be more different. In the ubiquitous climate of trust and respect here, it’s never a problem if you don’t have a ticket.
An inspector finds you without your ticket on a train? Simply buy one from him.
You decide to travel further than your ticket allows? Just pay the difference at your destination (most stations have machines available for this very purpose).
Lose your ticket? No problem. Just explain what happened, and they will usually believe you. The very worst case is you’ll be asked to purchase another ticket for the remainder of your journey.
In other words, customer service with understanding and politeness, often accompanied by a bow. Lovely.