Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My findings about trains/subways in Japan

-It is amazing how people in Japan have developed the ability to sleep during their commute to their destination, even standing. Not that I don't feel asleep myself, but it seems that they go into a deep coma and then automatically snap out of it in their stop.

-If they are not sleeping, they are either reading something of texting on their cell phones. It is requested that they do not speak on the cell phones as a polite gesture to others and, with very rare exceptions, they do follow this rule. On the shinkansens, I usually saw people going to the phone booths located in between cars (where they can actually have some privacy). On the subway, I have seen people leaving the car to make phone calls (and assume they jumped back on the next car after finishing the call)

-While the Japanese tend to be very respectful of the rules, this is really not the case in the stations. Normally people make lines to hop on trains but on many occasions I have seen opportunists quickly jumping the lines when the train arrived. Sometimes even while forming the lines I have seen some not so old ladies passing in front of me like I was not standing there. Also, even though there are preferential seats for elderly, expecting mothers, etc. I did not see people giving up on their seats as often as I expected.

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