The super standard JR staff as usual were completely accommodating to all the variations and changes I asked of them… I have 4 cancelled tickets and they didn’t even flinch. I guess I pushed my luck with a difficult reservation. My return trip was posed as a complex decision problem that went thus…
Hachinohe – Omiya preferably starting mid morning
Stay in Omiya for at least 20 mins
Omiya – Tokyo
Tokyo – Narita reaching narita before 2 pm.
If you know about train schedules in japan, you will know that making complex reservations is a tedious task and when posed with such constraints, things get really hairy. The feller did not bat an eyelid and started his complex punching of the numbers and consulting his big schedule bible… The best he could do after a long while was to give me a 12 min stop over at Omiya. That was not ideal for me to use the lockers and we decided to ditch the plan and carry our bags anyway… So off went the complex schedule and he took it with a smile.
Got to push my luck further, I asked him to help me find a hotel in Hachinohe. JR is a train reservation office and they have no business entertaining anything else. But the feller jumped out of his seat and after 5 minutes got me number for hotels near the station. Wow. I requested him to check for room availability and he did that too. Amazing. And all this with me not speaking a bit of Japanese and he speaking very very little English. They are really setting the standards on service excellence. Respect.