• SHARE

Once, many, many years ago, I found a rail pass someone left behind next to a public pay phone in Hamamatsucho Station in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

Before handing in the pass into the stationmaster’s office for deposit in the お忘れ物承り所 (o-wasuremono uketamawari-jo, lost-and-found department), I glanced at the owner’s name and age as entered on the pass (no problem there); but the name of the station, 上石神井, left me completely mystified: I had never seen those four characters 上, 石, 神 and 井 (meaning above, stone, god and well) in combination, and hadn’t the faintest idea how they should be read. Ue-ishigamii? Jo-sekishini??

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)