The world raves about Japan’s passion for punctuality. The trains run on time in what seems like an unbelievably effortless routine. But there will be days when there are accidents or someone has dropped their smartphone on the train tracks resulting in delays.
If you’re running late for work or school due to a train delay, you are expected to present a 遅延証明書 “Chien Shomeisho” (literally, certificate of lateness), shortened to “chiensho.” The eki-in (駅員), station employee, at the ticket gates hand these over to those who need to produce them as proof in order to avoid a “late” penalty.
This is one of the older styles of a chiensho that you do not usually see these days. The red circle on the left indicates the delay time; the circle on the bottom refers to the date; and the blue underline is the name of the station.
Here is another one where you can see the minutes written in red. That’s right, there was a 420 min delay!!
You also get smaller printed versions which have become more common.
Another version with the minutes in column form (分＝min) and the date is on the bottom.
What do you do if you forget to get one?
You can print an online version!
For Japan Railways: http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/delay_certificate/
For Tokyo Metro: https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/index.html#
Whenever there is a train delay, you will constantly hear announcements stating the cause of the delay as well as apologies from the railway staff; not just that, they also recommend alternative routes. One of the those things that only happens in Japan!