When Tom and I arrived in Tokyo in August, we were told to book our ski trips immediately because the hotels sell out fast. I went online, found a few places to try out and emailed the inns to make a reservation. I was able to get the rooms I wanted and the staff at the Inns told me to email them with our train arrival information when we bought the tickets. “Can’t I buy the tickets now? I asked. No, they all told me. You must wait one month before the day of departure and go to your local JR station train office and buy your tickets then. The “one month before we go” day was approaching and it just happened to fall on a Sunday. Tom and I went down to the station together and left some extra time just in case there was a line (lines are a big thing in Japan). We arrived around 9:45 in the morning and even though we were told the office wouldn’t open until 10, the doors were open and we went inside and approached the woman at the counter. We explained that we wanted to buy tickets from Tokyo to Nagano and then switch to the train for Nozawa Onsen and that we wanted reserved tickets for 3 adults and 2 children and she started typing in all the information. When she was finished typing, she looked at the date of departure we requested and the time on the clock and she told us (in very broken English) that she can only sell us the tickets at 10:00 a.m. 1 month prior to departure so we would have to wait a few minutes until 10. That was fine, as there were no other customers in line, and so Tom and I stood at the counter looking at her and she waited at her terminal looking at us. At 9:59 a.m. her supervisor stepped over and pulled his sleeve back to look at his watch. With seconds to go, they both looked at the clock on the wall and started counting down: Ju, Ku, Hatchi, Nana…. until they got to zero. She then turned back to us and told us how much the tickets would cost and we finished processing the order. And then when we asked for the round trip on January 11, she kindly informed us that we would need to return to the ticket office on Thursday to purchase the return trip!