Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 4/23/2021

by Just Juan
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I was looking through a couple of old boxes, separating stuff into piles of things that are going to Bogotá and things that should probably go in the trash. One of the things I came across was my old Suica card. I immediately let out a chuckle. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Suica card.

How I first came across this moment? I was introduced to the Suica card in the Summer of 2008 by Latisha Hambrick. We were in Fussa Station about to hop on a Tokyo-bound train and she saw me dashing for the ticket machine. She laughed at the fact that I still bought the paper tickets and told me to spend the ¥2000 in Newsdays to get a Suica.

What it meant to me then? Having that card revolutionized my Tokyo experience. Not only did it factor in me eventually becoming The Train Guru, it proved to be the equivalent of a Japanese ATM card on steroids. I liked how the fares when using the Suica were cheaper than buying a paper ticket. I essentially saved ¥50 on a Fussa-Tokyo trip at a time where the U.S. dollar was very weak against the Japanese yen. What I liked most was that it was cross-functional with every rail system in Greater Tokyo as well as every vending machine, restaurant, and most department stores. Like I wrote, it was like I wrote: Japanese ATM card on steroids. At my peak, I usually had anywhere from ¥6000 to ¥15000 on my Suica at any given time. The Suica definitely got longevity out of me as I only had 2 of them in the 2 years I used them during my residency. It’s likely I could’ve gone the distance with the first card I bought in June 2008 had it not been lost in the Hong Kong incident. I’m still pissed about the ¥11500 in lost funds.

What it means to me now? The Suica is still a very valuable item for me…even today with me not having visited Tokyo since August 2015. According to my books, there is still ¥1950 on the card. I guess when I get around to going “home”, I got funds to get me started.

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