What did you want to become when you were little? Perhaps a sports star or a film actor? One of the commonest and most enduring childhood dreams for Japanese men (and a very few women) is to become a train driver. You’d think that there are so many trains in Japan, it’s not hard to become one, or at least know someone who drives trains. But there are many people (predominently men) holding office jobs who are obsessed about trains. Some people like the ride, while others like to take photographs. It’s a bit nerdy sometimes, but they don’t really have the vaguely disturbing reputation of the anorak-and-glasses-wearing trainspotters scribbling numbers in Britain.
If your childhood dream was to become a train driver, then you can make it a reality, but it will cost you 7 million yen. Isumi Railway in Chiba needs new train drivers, but as a train company in rural area, it cannot afford to pay to train someone to obtain the necessary qualification. During and after qualification, you’ll be paid about 100,000 yen, and once qualified, you will be working part time. So it’s really for people with time and money, or someone who really, really wants to drive trains.