In Japan, one kanji character can make a lot of difference.

One of the members of idol group “R-Village Girls” missed a performance at Odaiba in Tokyo on 1 October after misreading the kanji for the closest train station to the venue. Though she was meant to get the train to Aomi Station, she ended up getting the train to Ōme Station, which was roughly 55 kilometres (34 miles) away.

▼ The most direct route between stations takes 1 hour and 42 minutes by train.

While the difference between the place names might be obvious in English, in Japanese, it’s an easy mistake to make, given that Aomi Station is 青海駅 and Ōme Station is 青梅駅. The only difference is the tiny radical on the left of each middle character, with 海 (“sea”, or “beach”) using the radical for water (氵), and 梅 (“plum”) using the radical for tree (⽊).


Just before the three-member group was about to go on stage to perform at the inaugural Tokyo Seaside Festival Idol Award event, they posted this message to fans on their Twitter account, to let them know the situation.

The message says: “Our member Mei made a mistake with Aomi and Ōme, so she’s currently at Hachioji. She’s rushing to get here but she won’t make it in time for the first performance on stage. We sincerely apologise to fans who were looking forward to seeing her. Yukina and Kaho will try their best for you so please cheer them on!”

▼ With two performances scheduled for the day, Yukina and Kaho then posed for this picture, saying they would do their best until Mei’s arrival.

After their first performance, the girls posted this picture, to remind everyone that Mei was on the way and would be joining them on stage for their second performance.

Then, an hour-and-a-half after they tweeted their first announcement, Mei arrived, looking rather embarrassed.

Thankfully, the trio were able to perform together at the group’s second scheduled appearance. We’re guessing that after this debacle though, the girls will be checking every single kanji when making travel plans for their next performance!

Source: Net Lab
Top Image: Twitter/@rvillagegirls
Insert Image: Wikimedia Commons/Ippukucho