Tuesday, October 18, 2005


A Yanagawa Pensioner is back home this evening having been missing for two days. Seventy One year old Yasuko Ichikawa left her home in chibi-machi on Monday morning to take a local train to Daizenji, and simply disappeared. Her family, worried by her absence, waited patiently at home, fasting for almost two days. When asked whether this was some sort of gesture to wish the grandmother a speedy return, her son allegedly laughed and said that "she is the cook, so it didn't seem right to eat anything."

Just when the family were beginning to think that she had gone forever, she turned up on the frontdoor step with two policemen, who were quick to offer the rather peckish family an explanation. As it transpires, Mrs Ichikawa caught the train on Monday morning. However, there was an electrical fault with the on board announcements, and Daizenji's announcement was omitted. Mrs Ichikawa, not wanting to be conspicuous, elected to remain on the train rather than get off at Daizenji, as it was announced as Hanabatake, and thus incorrect. She ended up travelling to Tenjin, and then realising that she would have to disembark and report her error, she decided to secrete herself under a pile of coats that were left on the seat, rather than face the humiliation of admitting her problem.

How Mrs Ichikawa remained hidden beneath the coats for 2 days is something of a mystery, and unfortunately Nishitetsu Railways were unavailable for comment. It can only be assumed that she kept very still and travelled back and forth as the train traversed the line between Omuta and Tenjin. According to Mrs Ichikawa, she was discovered first thing this morning, when a group of salarymen sat on her in Ohashi, but incredibly both she and the salarymen ignored the incident and remained in their uncomfortable position for another 25 minutes, at which point the salarymen left the train. It was only this evening, when two policemen happened to board the train in Shinsakae Machi and noticed two frail legs peeping from under the coats that the resolute pensioner was discovered and returned home.

According to the policemen, Mrs Ichikawa exchanged a few words with her son, before making her way to the kitchen to prepare the evening meal.


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