The whole area is short on teachers right now, so I got stuck with 3 group kids classes. Boo!
After work I went to a farewell party at a small town near Mt. Fuji. As usual, the first party was at an izakaya where everyone filled up on beer and food. We took a short train ride to Fuji City for the second party, which was at a karaoke room we usually go to.
The last regular train back to Numazu from Fuji is at 12:15am. However, that’s not the last train. There is also a 2:30am night express train. The night express has reserved seats, and costs more than the regular Tokaido line train. We were concerned that we would have to buy seat reservations or pay extra, but one of the more experienced teachers assured us that everything was okay, and told us to just buy the standard 320 yen one way ticket.
It turns out that our strategy for beating the extra fee was to all congregate outside the washroom at the end of the train, and pretend to be sleeping. This way if a ticket checker came along, he might be reluctant to wake up a group of sleeping gaijins that smelled of beer to get us to pay the extra fee. If we had all been more sober, we probably would have felt a bit conflicted about our decision, but it was 2:30am and we wanted to go home. Fortunately we got all the way to Numazu without running into the ticket checker!
(2015 Update) There are plenty of ways to cheat Japan Rail, but that doesn’t mean you should do them*. This is how foreigners get bad reputations in Japan! Do the right thing and pay full price!
*Unless it’s an emergency