Kawanishi-Noseguchi, Kinunobebashi, Takiyama, Uguisunomori, Tsuzumigataki, Tada, Hirano, Ichinotorii, Uneno, Yamashita, Sasabe, Kofudai, Tokiwadai, Myokenguchi
I suppose the title needs a bit of explanation. That is a list of stations on the Nose Electric Railway between Kawanishi and Yoshikawa regions of Japan.
I'm a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid series of video games, which if you are unfamiliar with, I could explain in the sense that they are military stealth games with a ton of Japanese influence, but that hardly explains the appeal of the games. Each of the underlying themes and characters within the games are ocean deep, to put it mildly, but there's an inherent silliness to the games as well. Numerous YouTube videos and personalities have dissected each game in an extreme level of depth, some of my favorites I will link to, but will spare you the trouble of doing so myself.
|Nose Electric Railway 3170. Wikipedia Commons.
So what does this have to do with the list of stations in the title?
An Easter Egg that consistently appears in the games (in fact, all with the exception of Metal Gear Solid 3 it appears, unless someone can find it!) is that of a random stretch of Japanese railway line. According to Metal Gear's fandom page, "these names, said in the same manner, are the chants that Gray Fox utters when around offscreen in Metal Gear Solid, and are the names of train stations of the Myōken Line, operated by Nose Electric Railway in the Kansai region of Honshū, Japan.
Similarly, in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the Mammal Pod sometimes says this when Big Boss removes enough of its drive uplinks. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Sunny was also seen saying those names in the form of song while making her famous "Sunny's Sunny-Side-Up Fortune Eggs." The names are also heard in the Deja Vu mission in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain if the player shoots a tranquilizer dart at Ocelot."
The most famous of these occurrences comes in Metal Gear Solid 2, which aside from being my favorite game of all time has some of the most profound moments not just in video games, but perhaps media in general. With that said, there's also a ton of silly moments, as when an artificial intelligence you discover you're talking to blurts the same list of stations.
If one starts at Kawanishi-Noseguchi and continues along the line north, and east when it splits, the stations are chanted in the order in which you come across them, as shown in the map below.
The Nose Electric Railway is, as of 2023, still in service. While a fairly small branch line of the greater Japanese railway network, this line links numerous mountainous regions, and allows riders to connect to Kawanishi, where they can board trains en route to Osaka and other points in the country. It is a private railway, not affiliated with the Japanese Railways group network, which itself has been privatized and broken up into several smaller companies serving different regions of Japan, following the dissolution of the Japanese National Railways.
If you had to quiz me on the significance of these railway stations, I would venture that they're a favorite of Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear series, or someone else involved with the production of the games. It's been discussed on Reddit that perhaps the Japanese voice actors use the list to warm up their vocal cords before lines. I doubt there's any more significance than that, but we can never be too sure given what else comes from the mind of Kojima.
Thanks as always for reading!