Activity (2): While you read .. In the following text, the headings of six sections have been removed. Choose the best heading (A-F) for each of the six sections (1-6).
1 _______ It is ironic that Japan, which is a nation dedicated to preserving peace in its constitution, has one of the most wonderful means of transport and tourist attractions, named after weapons. Of course the name indicates speed, but the “bullet train” in Japan is also the most quiet, effective, pleasing and least expensive way to travel around the country.
2 _______ To be fair, it is English speakers who have called these high-speed trains “bullet trains,” as they travel at speeds of up to 240-320 km. per hour. The Japanese word is shinkansen, which means “New Trunk Line,” although it is not so new anymore, because the first line in this network opened up between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. At that time, the trip took four hours. Today, it takes just two hours and 20 minutes.
3 _______ The Shinkansen network now runs through the length of Japan. On a map, it creates the image of a vital artery pumping energy from north to south and vice versa, with one beautiful vein extending west through the central Hida Mountain Range, also known as the Japanese Alps. This takes one directly to the heart of traditional, rustic Japan. On this route, like so much of Japan, you travel in charming, perfectly designed technology into a world such as Nagano City, which contains the famous Zenko-Ji Buddhist temple, or Joshin’etsukogen National Park, where traditional villages, ryokan inns and unique artisans still prosper.
4 _______ In fact, it is the tradition of fine design that has informed the much-admired look of Japan’s Shinkansen trains over time. The most recent Hokuriku Shinkansen extension, which goes all the way to the west coast at Kanazawa in two hours from Tokyo, was designed by the Japanese Kiyoyuki Okuyama, also famously the first non-Italian to design for Ferrari. Beautifully designed for environmentally friendly purposes, the body of the train is sky blue in color to represent the blue skies of the mountains and coast, mixed with a copper color, which represents the fine Japanese tradition of inlaid copper art. This mixture of futuristic technology and recognition of both cultural and natural heritage is what most people are searching for when they travel to Japan.
5 _______ You can walk on the long-distance, old Nakasendo Walking Trail as far as Magome, for example, and then travel by bullet train and be taken quickly to another world of Kyoto. Or go on a family trip, beginning with the bustling activity of Tokyo, with landmarks such as the Senso-ji temple, the manga studio, a sumo practice arena or the famous Ghibli animation studio, followed by a bullet train to Hakone National Park for a volcanic scene of hot springs, sculpture pools and astonishing landscapes. And children just love these amazing machines. The fact that nearly all holidays in Japan, whether a self-guided walking tour or small-group adventure, will take you on the train is a testament to their greatness. We cannot think of any country in the world where trains are so important to holidays, and this is due to their effectiveness, speed and price. Just get your Japanese Rail Pass (around 200 pounds sterling for 7 days of unlimited travel in Japan) before you go—your tour manager should be able to help or organize it for you, as you cannot get it once you are there. When you arrive, you can forget highways and rental cars. Just get into train mode and go in peace.
6 _______ Wheelchair travel is available in Japan’s bullet trains, which have specific spaces in each carriage for wheelchair users, and private “multipurpose” rooms as well as wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. Help with boarding the train is available at every station. Simply get the attention of a staff member and they will go with you to your platform with a ramp, then call ahead to your destination to make sure that there is someone to help you on your arrival. Most stations also have priority elevators for wheelchair users.