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83. Reading Skills Comprehension: OF BULLET TRAINS AND JAPANESE MANNERS


Read the following passage carefully:

  1. At Precisely 2: 13 pm, the Shinkansen guided in and, almost noiselessly, halted in front of us. It has a long, tapering beak with two Wide eyes (like a Falcon) and a Smooth, white body(like a snake).
  2. In case you are still wondering what it is, let me give a couple more hints: it’s the pride of Japan and is probably the fastest thing in the world that moves without lifting its belly off the ground. No? Well, how about the Bullet Train?
  3. If you don’t understand Japanese, there’s the only way of knowing that the bullet train is set to arrive: its army of cleaners. Exactly two minutes before the glide-in, about 20 mostly middle-aged women, dressed in neatly ironed clothes and sparkling white shoes, take their positions.
  4. They stand in a line and look with pride in the direction from where the shinkansen is coming. They are invariably ramrodding straight; each one has a broom, a swab, a bucket and a big garbage bag in her hands. As soon as the train stops, they walk up to the door and wait.
  5. Within seconds the doors swing open. But their work is already half-done: the passengers come out with all their rubbish and politely drop it in the army’s open bags. The passengers look into the cleaners’ eyes, bow a little, wait for a similar response and walk away.
  6. The cleaners march in and quickly get down to work. Even as you are wondering if you have to travel looking in the opposite direction, another technological marvel takes place: the seats swivel on their axis, turn 180 degrees and are ready to go with you to Nagano, the venue of the Special Olympic Games.
  7. Exactly 20 minutes later, on the dot, the shinkansen roll out of the platform and cuts across the city of Tokyo.
  8. It’s about four degrees outside and the gleaming snow on the roofs make you feel colder, but it’s actually warm and cosy inside. Just like the Japanese people. They seem aloof and distant but step into their world and they are all a smiles and eager to help.
  9. Everybody carries a cell phone, which can shoot pictures and send emails.
  10. But funnily, they don’t seem to use it too much. There are no loud, intrusive ring tones or incessant yapping into your ears. Just like their trains, the phones buzz softly and they quietly step out into the passage to receive calls.
  11. Ninety minutes later, after curving through snow-topped mountains, we enter Nagano. The city, which has already hosted the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Paralympic Games, is ready for the Special Olympic Games now. There are welcome boards and volunteers, apparently from over 86 countries everywhere; about 2000 intellectually-challenged athletes from around the world have already started arriving.

12. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday evening and it promises to be cheerful and colourful. Events will be held in Alpine-skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, figure-skating and floor-hockey.

13.The mission of the Games: promote a mentally barrier-free world.


1.Answer these questions briefly : (3 marks)

(a) How is the work of cleaners of the bullet train already half done?

(b) Which city is the venue of the Special Olympic Games?

(c) What is the mission of the Special Olympic Games?

2.on the basis of the reading of the passage, complete the following paragraph with one word only: (3marks)

Shinkansen is called the (a)_________of Japan and is the (b)___________ bullet train. Exactly two minutes before the (c)____________ of the bullet train, about 20 mostly middle-aged women (d)_________take their positions. As the train stops, they (e) ______ up to the door and wait. The passengers come out with all their (f)________ and politely drop it in the army’s open bags.

  1. Find words’ from the passage which mean the same as:

(a) wonderful thing (Para 6)                                         (b)  unwelcome(Para 10)


1.(a)The passengers come out With all their rubbish and drop it in the bags of cleaners. This halves their work.

(b) Nagano city is the venue of the special Olympic Games.

(c) The mission of the Special Olympic Games Is to promote a mentally barrier-free world.

(2) (a)pride            (b) fastest  (c)arrival   (d) cleaners    (e) walk     (f)rubbish

(3).  (a) marvel               (b) intrusive

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