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Japanese People are so polite! Until they get on the train 8-/


So as a joke, I submitted a Facebook status that ready “Random, but I'm thinking about creating a t-shirt that reads "I survived Tokyo Transit Rush Hour” Unsurprisingly, many people left comments sharing my pain. All who left comments said that they would be proud to wear the shirt, while others left more detailed comments like my favorite:

“Ahh good old Tokyo rush hour. Gotta love the feeling of being pushed, shoved, stepped on, booty bumped, elbowing of body parts, stampede "rush" out the door (when everyone is going to the same place anyways.), being pushed/forced in the train like I am about to get kid napped, and of course the sudden stops that sends everyone flying across the whole train, Ooo and of course the glares! Yea I can saw I survived that! I would be proud to wear that shirt:)”

She pretty much summed up most of what goes on, on the train. Whether you are staying for a month, a semester, or a year, taking Tokyo public transit can wear heavily on your body and mind. I have just a few tips that have worked for me during my short time here:


  1. Always leave about 15 minutes before your estimated travel time. In the event you need to step out of a crowded car and wait for a less crowded one, you have allotted the time to do so. Also, things like “accidents” happen often and may also delay most trains.
  2. To avoid getting smashed into a corner far away from the door (possibly smothered by larger man) stand strong in a position you have chosen on the train. Plant your feet shoulder width apart and let everyone pass you. They will be just fine.
  3. If unidentified objects brush parts of you that you are not comfortable with (and it will happen) DO NOT HESISTATE to turn around and assess the situation. It may just be a briefcase or woman’s’ purse. IN THE EVENT that it is a pervert who is trying to be slick, turn all the way around and face him (happened to me and this worked). Look him in the eye till he clearly feels uncomfortable, no need to say a word.
  4. If a “tight fitting situation” is just more than you can handle and you are not the “confrontational type” remember, you have allowed yourself enough time to get off at the next stop and wait for a less crowded train. (Cars towards the front are usually less crowded. Cars towards the middle or close to stairs are most packed) I advise you to not suffer through it for it will wear on you mentally and physically sooner than later.
  5. For women, there is always the Women Only Car, which is usually packed, but chances of another woman acting inappropriately towards you are slim. However, getting off and on the trains are done just as aggressively by women and men alike.

Besides all the drama, Tokyo public transit runs and operates very efficiently (despites its evident lack of a maximum capacity limit). Most trains run every 5 minutes or less, and the express lines stop at all major stops including Yotsuya. I hope I have helped many future and current students attending CIEE. Japan is a wonderful place, however, the politeness stops when the Suica card is scanned. ;)



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