SF Metro and Passnet Cards and todays Digital Cards

THOSE WERE THE DAYS : My first visit to Japan in 1998, I collected many SF Metro Cards as memories to take back to India. I ended up staying in Japan on a long term basis, but I carried on collecting the Cards which were issued by the Eidan-Chikatetsu which today is known as Tokyo Metro. Cards in those days used to come in 1000-3000-5000 yen formats and were elegantly designed as is clear from a few samples below. ART themed 1000 yen and 5000 yen cards with wood block print designs on them are a few of my favorite cards in my collection which I retain even today.
SF Metro Card, Passnet, SFメトロカード、パスネットIDENTITY : The beautifully designed cards were an identity in those days. Beautiful photographs by professionals of various views across the city were printed as in the examples below Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Asakusa etc. You could use the cards just like a ticket and slide them in the ticket gates where they were validated and a punch (small hole) made on the side. The back side used to contain the printed list of the travel history and the balance on the card. Simple and beautiful, I really miss these type of cards. Just look at the Asakusa view, there is no Tokyo Skytree, its a record of what existed at that time and how it looked. You cannot replicate that experience on a SUICA card….
SF Metro Card, Passnet, SFメトロカード、パスネットWhere have these cards disappeared? Today everything is moving to a digital world. Electronic transactions reduce costs, help with better customer service and cards like PASSMO and SUICA have completely replaced these  simple art forms to a rather boring digital card. One card which I have memories of is the Spiderman Card which is a time-stamp memory of what events were happening in the city at the point in time which is something completely absent on a digital card like SUICA or PASSMO. The SF MetroCard was an effective record of arts, places of interest and events like the Spiderman Movie. With efficient SUICA/PASSMO cards this effectiveness has been given up. Train companies would prefer customers using the same card as much possible for better service to customers than have them change after every 1000 yen usage which breaks the user data and tracking which organizations are so fond of.SF Metro Card, Passnet, SFメトロカード、パスネットI think people value art forms and no wonder that when JR announced the Tokyo Station 100 year special SUICA, an amazing number of people lined up to buy the card. JR had to stop the event and reissue cards through an online registration service. In today’s digital world people do need physical identities against a digital only identity. I got  two SUICA cards, one which I intend to use for my daily travel and one goes to my card collection.
Tokyo Station 100 Year Anniversary CardI also have collected cards from other cities, one of my favorite city, Kobe. The MOSAIC in Kobe, a card from Hankyu Dentetsu which I bought in 2010. Kobe still has these cards although the card style is fading out there too pretty quickly. Just looking at this card makes me go to Kobe Harborland. Look at your SUICA or PASSMO and am sure you will only be reminded of your routine office travel. YIKES.
SF Metro Card, Passnet, SFメトロカード、パスネットI seriously believe that customers should have a choice, SUICA PASSMO or a 1000 yen card with beautiful art. There is one card, the below one, which I have is of the cute model Ueto Aya in her young days of 2005 when Tokyo Metro put up a 1000 yen card for the FIFA Toyota Cup event. Seriously those were the days, How i miss these non-digital but beautiful cards.
SF Metro Card, Passnet, SFメトロカード、パスネット

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