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  Brake, slow throttle, up to speed. Both of them had their hands on either side of the big lever in the center as it maxes out at a safe speed. Lan sits back and nudges Saya in the side. “See? If teaching falls through, you got the controls down, hm?”
  
She laughs and watches the scenery pass by as the train pilots itself for now. “Yes, despite not speaking Japanese or reading it, I'm sure I'd be a shoe in.”
  
A red light passes them by in the simulator and neither notice the warning to pull back and brake, but loud warning signal breaks them out of their conversation as Lan leans forward and yanks back on the throttle.
  
“Oh shhhiii...” He looks around the control panel and eases the brakes out slowly but it's much too late – the simulation shows them blowing past the next station, with too much speed to stop.
  
Eventually, the train comes to a slow halt with only a few of the rear cars still in the boarding area of the station. The two of them are rewarded with a large red stamp that says FAIL in Japanese.
  
“Well maybe not so much,” Lan says, the reset button flashing a muted yellow as the next in line peer into the booth.
  
“Right, so.. trains not so much. Shall we?” He ducks out of the simulator and stands up, holding a hand to Saya as she shifts over, taking it and stepping out herself.
  
“And that's not really fair, either, they could still board three cars at the back!” She chuckles.
  
“Have you ever had a late train in Ota?” He asks, she shakes her head, curious. “Something I learned here, and in taking the trains, if they're more than five minutes late, the staff announce an apology, and often offer a delay certificate. For a free ride. For five minutes.
  
Saya thinks back as she walks with him, and can't remember a time that her usual trains weren't on time within at least a minute. “Punctuality. That seems very.. Japanese. And the one time I visited New York City, I learned two things: the train will show up when it wants to show up, and they're required to point before they take off.”
  
“Point?” He asks, confused. “At what?”
  
“It's a.. board, black on white, diagonal lines. Cameras are everywhere in the stations, and they use that to make sure the conductors are paying attention.” She raises her free hand up and points at an imaginary space. “Making sure they recognize and acknowledge that board means they're paying attention.”
  
Really!” Lan grins, having learned something new. “I've been there myself, but I never noticed. We didn't take the subway much but that's actually a good method.. huh.”
  
The two of them approach the stairs up to the third floor, still holding hands.

--

  In front of them lay a huge miniature of the area around them, but there were two: a realistic version of the area, and another where transportation was the method of movement – walking was a pastime.
  
Lan stops in front of a console with a few buttons, thumbing one of them as they light up the rail section, displaying Japan's extensive and comprehensive system. Another button lit up the highways.
  
“And where are we?” Saya asks, Lan looks around and walks into the U shaped area, the model city surrounding them.
  
“So, we started.. here..” He points north above a set of islands where the Hiroshima Airport resides, then follows the highway west slowly towards downtown Hiroshima. “That's your hotel.. and..” His hand moves north. “That's Ushitayama..”
  
“So we are.. oh, right. Here.” Northwest of Lan's family home, a building was lit up with LEDs, in the shape of the building they were currently in. “There.”
  
“And then.. actually this is a good chance to figure out where to go next. I have an idea, but if I'm honest, it's close to lunch, so maybe that should be next.” He laughs, leaning into the model, not that it told him anything about nearby restaurants – but this was his neighborhood, even if it had been a while.
  
“There's.. a family restaurant.. a conveyor sushi.. ah, there's an Italian restaurant down the road near Yasukawa.. but it's all up to you and what you feel like.”
  
Lan steps back and looks down at her. “Kind of the same thing you'd find around Ota. But! But we're not done here yet.”
  
He holds back his grin as he looks out the window across the model, then to her. “How do you feel about radiation and fucked up bikes?”
  
Neither of those suggestions made sense to Saya - briefly she wondered if the radiation modified the bikes somehow - but a lot of this museum didn't make a lot of sense to her. “I.. guess let's start with radiation?” She had asked him before about it at the Satake building, but to hear Lan talk about it as if it were a tourist attraction starts to make her a little worried.
  
He didn't seem to care, though, and still holding her hand, he starts off, walking towards the stairs they came up from.

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About the author

drac

Bio: apologies for everything about me, it might get better.

updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)

feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.

[email protected]

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