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Commuters' tolerance tested in face of declining public manners

155 Comments

On May 21, the Shibuya Fukutoshin subway station was the scene of a knife assault. When the perpetrator was arrested two days later, he reportedly told police he had lost his temper after the man "had bumped into him."

Spa! (June 19) uses this incident to consider the many ways in which rail passengers show lack of consideration toward their peers. A survey of 200 adults found that 133 said raucous conversations were the most objectionable --- voiced by two thirds of all respondents. This was followed (with multiple replies given) by poor manners when boarding and disembarking (129); inconsiderate sitting posture (128); noise emanating from headphones (116); anything involving inebriation (104); conversing on cell phones (98); eating and drinking on the trains (90); perfume or other strong odor (82); reading, use of cell phones, playing games or other activity that intrude on others' space (81); and females putting on their makeup (71).

Some elderly passengers have been known to burst out, loudly ranting at the source of their annoyance.

"One old man exclaimed, 'Today's young people are too self-centered! Don't you have any consideration for the elderly?' relates an eyewitness to one particular incident. "But after that, he pulled out his cell phone and began talking in a loud voice and his conversation lasted for quite a while.

"I thought about saying to him, 'Before you complain about other people, you ought to consider your own lack of manners!' but decided it was more trouble than it was worth."

On another note, it seems cars limited to females only have not entirely solved the groping problem.

"Once on my way home I got groped by a woman around age 50. Since I'm a woman, it didn't bother me that much, but her hands were definitely roaming over my hips and thighs. 'Can this really be happening?' I said to myself, but felt resigned that there was nothing to do about it. But I realized that the women's only car is not entirely safe either."

The task of attempting to bring order to the chaos falls mainly on station personnel. According to a survey by the association of private railways, reported cases of violence against station attendants leaped from 183 in 2007 to 236 the following year. Of the 229 incidents in 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in 75%.

"There have been cases where the police had to be called in and a train was delayed by up to 15 minutes," says a source at a railway company. "It's troublesome to announce the cause of the delay to the passengers. What do we tell them? 'The delay is due to passenger difficulties?' Frankly, I don't want to have to say it was a passenger's fault."

"Whenever we have to scrape off vomit, it's almost never the person who regurgitated who informs us," says another source. "But the mess has got to be cleaned up right away; otherwise it becomes encrusted on the floor.

"You don't have to apologize to us," he appeals to Spa! readers, "but if you vomit, please let us know right away."

In a separate sidebar, Spa! also gave some offenders equal time, inviting them to give excuses for their inappropriate behavior. Like the men who openly leer at nude photos and other risqué contents of male-oriented printed matter.

"Well they sell 'em at the stations," retorts a 44-year-old man who peruses such publications. "Some women may be turned off by it, but their illusions toward men are overdone. To me, people who are overly self-conscious about such things are even more unpleasant."

Ichiro Tanaka, who operates a site called Densha Tsukinshi ("Train Commuting Warriors," www.tsuuki.in/) is asked what he advises to those who encounter potentially aggressive trouble makers.

"Just apologize to them," he says, quoting an old expression that goes "Kunshi aya uki ni chika yorazu" (a wise person never courts danger).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

155 Comments
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inconsiderate sitting posture

Oh, the horror.

2 ( +12 / -11 )

At least in Tokyo is definitely got worse since 3/11, I think people more stressful,and I definitely notice a large change in general behavior. I resorted to just bike commute these days unless I really have no choice.

1 ( +8 / -6 )

i think groping and knife wielding are not a decline in manners but crimes.

32 ( +31 / -3 )

Knife is definitely a stress related development...women groping women...not sure how to classify that :-)

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Consideration for the elderly?!? Come on! Who pays for them, develops drugs to keep them alive longer, builds their care homes, cares for them,and who created this stifling culture in the first place? They should be apologizing to us!

5 ( +12 / -9 )

perfume or other strong odor 82

I'd be interested to find out how many complained about the smell of perfume, and how many about the most prevalent "other strong odour" on subway trains - the fetid, death-reeking stench of your average ojaji's breath.

There was a bloke next to me yesterday, and when he yawned it was classifiable as an act of bio-terrorism.

51 ( +48 / -5 )

Niche "market" I know, but the number of people who pretended to be asleep, ignored me, or flatly refused to give up their seat when I was pregnant was amazing. If you call them out on it and flatly ask to sit down, most people will then jump up but you still get the odd few who say "screw you, I was here first"!

Other than that, I have often had people jump the queue on the platform waiting for the train to come in and stand right in front of me, thinking of everyone in the queue I will be the one who wont say anything (wrong!).

But I do think the whole "putting on make up" or drinking on the train is a bit too sensitive. Eating maybe I understand because of the smell and the potential for mess, but I often take a bottle of water on the train in Summer and swig from it and make no apologies for that - its the sensible thing to do in 38 degree heat!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Eating on the train is no real problem at all. I see Japanese people do it all the time. They eat quietly and I respect that. I'm sure they must be busy people who have to keep going once they arrive at their destination.

Music, video games, and newspapers should be ignored. People are passing the time and it's normal.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

This is not surprising at all; the whole "Ware ware" thing of Japanese politeness is a myth - at least insofar as they are no more polite than any other nation. Japanese are great at being polite in prescribed situations (to elders/seniors etc), but seem to struggle outside of said prescribed situations.

A colleague commented that Japanese aren't so much impolite as inconsiderate, and I had to agree, the amount of things such as what's listed above, and what you can see elsewhere (e.g. parking over & blocking a sidewalk, parking a bicycle right in front of an entrance) has one asking the question "is the inconsiderateness intentional selfishness, or just plain -I-live-in-my-own-world witlessness?"

26 ( +29 / -5 )

Of all the places I've been to in Japan, Tokyo commuters are the rudest. But Japanese commuters are "generally" much politer than a lot of other countries.

Meanwhile in Australia, I've had to educate people on what a bus queue is and how to participate in it constantly. What baffles me is the number of people who think common courtesty no longer applies. Seriously.

Don't get me started on the trains here - there is no queue whatsoever. Old people, pregnant women, etc, are shoved aside in the rush to get a seat.

Another thing I appreciate is switching to manner mode. Because I don't think your ringtone/message alert is cool.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

reading, use of cell phones, playing games or other activity that intrude on others’ space (81)

Yes. This infuriates me! I get sick of idiots who think it's fine to continually jab me in the back with their manchild video-game console; or those who think it's imperative that they read their silly little book when the train is packed; or the ones who ruffle their newspapers of failure constantly.

poor manners when boarding and disembarking (129)

This is one of the things I bring up when people say that Japanese are always polite and well-mannered. Anyone who said that has never been on a train in Japan, and should be ridiculed.

“Whenever we have to scrape off vomit, it’s almost never the person who regurgitated who informs us,”

Yeah, because they're probably too drunk to.

“It’s troublesome to announce the cause of the delay to the passengers. What do we tell them? ‘The delay is due to passenger difficulties?’ Frankly, I don’t want to have to say it was a passenger’s fault.”

Tell them the truth, and don't apologize every 2 minutes, it just makes people even more angry. Why they feel the need to explain and re-explain that the train has stopped for whatever reason when the train is stopped and no-one has got off is a mystery. I think they just feel the need to say something because they're useless at anything else.

“One old man exclaimed, ‘Today’s young people are too self-centered! Don’t you have any consideration for the elderly?’ relates an eyewitness to one particular incident. “But after that, he pulled out his cell phone and began talking in a loud voice and his conversation lasted for quite a while. “I thought about saying to him, ‘Before you complain about other people, you ought to consider your own lack of manners!’ but decided it was more trouble than it was worth.”

I've seen this happen too, and it made me want to punch him in the back of his flat-backed balding head but decided it was more trouble than it was worth...

I'd be interested to find out how many complained about the smell of perfume, and how many about the most prevalent "other strong odour" on subway trains - the fetid, death-reeking stench of your average ojaji's breath.

I second that! Also, the guys, and it is always guys, who stink of cigarettes and/or beer. If I end up vomiting because of it, I'm vomiting on them.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@Netninja

Music, video games, and newspapers should be ignored.

I disagree. People should not annoy other passengers.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

I find the japanese are quite tolerant. For example, In the rush hour mornings I see some pushing to get on and off the trains that could be classed as abusive behaviour and aprt from some disgruntled looks I haven't seen anyone complain yet. If the same thing happenned in Europe there would be a punch up

7 ( +8 / -1 )

aprt from some disgruntled looks I haven't seen anyone complain yet. If the same thing happenned in Europe there would be a punch up

I'm taking it you've never been on the Yokohama line then? I see fights and push-arounds almost every morning.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Don’t you have any consideration for the elderly?’ “But after that, he pulled out his cell phone and began talking in a loud voice and his conversation lasted for quite a while.

Pot...kettle...easy math.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Plenty of punching in the morning although most of it is real cowardly type... What I absolutely dont get after 11 years here is this custom trying to squeeze in JR Yamanote with your back... Next train is there in 5 minutes, literally... These days I actually actively prevent it if I am in their way...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think they just feel the need to say something because they're useless at anything else.

Oh, yes. japanese trains are utterly useless, aren't they. Always late. Rude, inconsiderate staff, filthy waiting rooms, graffiti everwhere, incomprehensible ticket pricing policies.

Or am I thinking of somewhere else?

11 ( +17 / -6 )

THANK GOD! I left the city for the sticks & now work from home & an office a short drive away, no way in hell I will ever do the daily commute again, its in-human, nasty, awful waste of time & life.

Get outta there before it drives you crazy!

As for the manners, its always been bad, its perhaps just a tad more stessful these days due to the economy & 3/11.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Oh, yes. japanese trains are utterly useless, aren't they. Always late. Rude, inconsiderate staff, filthy waiting rooms, graffiti everwhere, incomprehensible ticket pricing policies.

I was talking about their useless staff. You could get rid of half of them and service wouldn't be affected. For example, the London, Paris, New York subway systems don't have any staff on the platform, because they're not needed; and the constant apologizing they seem to think helps, just makes things worse because it's annoying as hell.

The task of attempting to bring order to the chaos falls mainly on station personnel. According to a survey by the association of private railways, reported cases of violence against station attendants leaped from 183 in 2007 to 236 the following year. Of the 229 incidents in 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in 75%.

The train firms themselves make some passengers go nuts. I've seen some of the platform staff talk to passengers like they are a piece of crap and get the person riled up. Standing there on the platform, shouting the same vague words over and over again, being of no help to people, and being rude when they ask you a question, is not doing a good job. And if you make an aggressive drunk even more annoyed, surprise surprise, you're quite likely to get punched.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Ah! People are texting and sitting badly on the trains and subways! ... IT'S TIME.... TIME TO BRING BACK IMPERIALISM >:)

haha, no but seriously. Although it has gotten mildly worse. The public transport system in japan is still an A+++ compared to other countries.

I say well done to the operators for doing such a great job. Pat yourself on the backs.

11 ( +13 / -3 )

Hmmm, let me see, some uncomfortable experiences that I had on the train: an old man watching porn while sitting right next to me; a girl who painted her nails, and even put on some nail art (I give her an A for her amazing skill but the nail lacquer smelled really toxic); and a drunkard who groped me and then fell asleep on the floor shortly afterwards. These are isolated cases though- I think commuters are generally polite, at least as compared to where I come from.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The open (no tissue or hand) coughing and sneezing is what really pisses me off. Or the classic sneeze into the (non- keitai) hand and then going back to hold the dangling ring/strap thingy straight afterwards.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

If you want a perfectly quiet and peaceful commute, move to Tibet and live on a mountain people! This is Tokyo a Mega-City with more people than a rational person can imagine. They are people and thus will make noise, do annoying things and generally be problematic.

The real problem in Japan is this insanely unrealistic expectation of silence and serenety in the commute. This has not existed in the entire time I have been in Japan. What we deal with is nothing compared to a NY subway or trains in much of the world. So get over this illusion of absolute Zen on trains. Instead just be tolerant and try to accept that life in a big city is going ot have some noise and other things that you don't like.

If you can't deal with these things, move somewhere quiet, buy a car, or join the legions of stay at home Otaku. You do, after all, have free will to decide.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

“Well they sell ‘em at the stations,”

Touche! Anyway, the problem is that this is all about what offends the self. I'm willing to bet that every single person who complains about someone else's 'manners' on the train offends someone else with their own manners in some other way. I know old people who complain about young people being too loud but then are practically screaming to their buddies on a train when their on their way to a hotspring or an old-folks hiking trip (not to mention all the bells they keep on their canes)--and jesus, never get on a train full of old codgers who are leaving a drinking party! Putting on make-up in a train hurts no one, nor does 'bad posture' unless the train is rather full and said posture limits seating. If the 'young people' have no respect it's because they are not being taught by the old. More and more elderly will cram into an open door so they have a chance to get a seat instead of waiting for people to disembark, etc.

And anyway, in the end, I'm sorry, but stabbing someone because they have 'bad manners' is beyond ridiculous, and clearly in these extreme cases it's not bad manners that are the problem. Perhaps more ought to be done to deal with the stress of commuting on crowded trains, or stress in society in general.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

‘Can this really be happening?’ I said to myself, but felt resigned that there was nothing to do about it.

Everybody wants improvements done NOW!!!

... by somebody else.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

never seen punching or fighting on a train, except between two gaijin, and I stopped it. People need to lighten up. Girls putting on make-up is bad manners, but it's not the end of the world. Maybe nobody ever told them it was against the rules of etiquette but it's never bothered me. People talking on phones doesn't bother me either. Why should it? If two people are next to me and know each other I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to talk. To if they can talk, why can't someone talk quietly into their phone. Once again, bad manners supposedly, but why should it bother me? And ringtone? I usually find it's funny, because it's usually someone whose 70 years old and has some funny pop music ringtone that is totally unexpected. Gee, in some countries you have to worry about bombs and grenades. Tokyo trains are fine.

But, for those of you who have to pack in to the really crowded trains - that's horrible. But I'd take a different route, or go to work an hourly earlier to avoid that.

What bothers me the most is people not standing for pregnant women and older folk. But that's where the old-fashioned idea of men and young people standing up for women seems politically incorrect but I think it's still has merit. There are women in the first three months of pregnancy who don't appear pregnant who might be better off sitting, but not everyone wants to tell strangers that they're pregnant.

The golden rule would go a long way on trains. It'd be great if we gaijin could be good examples...

16 ( +18 / -1 )

make-up should be put on before getting on the train. Could u imagine dudes shaving on the train with an electric razor?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Even with declining manners, public transportation safety in Japan is still paradise compared to US or European major cities. I've lost count of the number of Japanese people I saw on the Paris Metro, terrified and close to collapse, clinging to their bags, nervously looking around for muggers.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Could u imagine dudes shaving on the train with an electric razor?

Seen it. Here in Japan, back home in England and in Spain. Doesn't bother me in the least, neither does putting on make-up.

Relax folks, there's a lot worse happening out there if you're determined to get your knickers in a twist over something.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

make-up should be put on before getting on the train. Could u imagine dudes shaving on the train with an electric razor?

I've seen it too.

Make up, I have no problem with. Shaving is just disgusting though.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@lucabrasi "Relax folks, there's a lot worse happening out there" - not in Japan, the Japanese would like you to believe.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yes, yes, manners in Tokyo are going down, down, down! Not too sure why, but it really makes me sick to see crappy KIDS sitting in the so called SILVER SEATS, the seats for older folk, for the handicapped or for pregnant women etc..I like to go up to those kids and ask them if they CAN READ NIHONGO!! Hey, kid, you can read NIHONGO, so it say in PLAIN JAPANESE this is for older,sick, pregnant etc...not for KUSO GAKI, shitty ass crappy kids who are to lazy to stand!

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Seeing I have a one hour commute each way, I try to catch up on some nap time.

There’s nothing more annoying than some idiot constantly texting with his/her volume set to high and a new message arriving every 30 seconds.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@lucabrasi

Relax folks, there's a lot worse happening out there if you're determined to get your knickers in a twist over something.

True. At least we don't have to sit on the roof.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Make up, I have no problem with. Shaving is just disgusting though.

I agree. I dont understand the issue with makeup to be honest - please someone explain to me why it is bad manners? It doesnt affect anyone around you, so what is the big deal? Shaving on the other hand - bits of stubble flying all over the people next to you - that IS gross.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Japanese are great at being polite in prescribed situations (to elders/seniors etc), but seem to struggle outside of said prescribed situations.

Exactly, other than that, it's a free for all! The thing that gets me is when you are standing on the platform waiting in line and as the train approaches, watch how everyone masses up to get ready to jump, NOT board the train. Once the door opens, it's push and shove time, screw you, buddy, it's my train and I also love those "I'm pretending to be asleep" jerks, men or women, some have issues with a foreigner sitting next to them as well. If I see a space, I will call them out and ask them, "may I sit down?" silence and a slight move and I sit down, if you say nothing, they will NEVER move over! This problem also extends to junior High and high school kids too that for some reason want to broaden themselves like a pufferfish and let no one sit next to them, that's when I get really obnoxious towards them and make them move over. If the locals won't do it, I have no problem exerting authority. Everyone is way too spoiled from the little kids to the elderly.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I noticed a decline in manners, People squeezing in and out Trains without regard, a salary man almost ran me over and he was angry, i was in automatic mode, said "sumimasen", but his angry outburst pissed me off. A small annoyance that people keep texting on their phones while leaving/entering train instead of being aware of their suroundings.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don’t you have any consideration for the elderly?

Do they have any for the rest of us? I get shoved and pushed more by the geezer who think they are entitled to get on and off the train before the rest of us. Just today I was waiting for others to get off the train and some old geezer with his cane cut in front and pushed on.

The make up is disgusting. Put it on at home. I don't want powder all over me - which has happened. I also hate those who brush their hair.

**

inconsiderate sitting posture

Oh, the horror. **

I guess you've never had your shoulder used as a pillow, seen guys sitting their their legs to far open you can't use the seat next to them or the ones that fake sleeping so they don't have to get out of the silver seats.

Train manners in this country are a disgrace. Give me the London tube any day over the daily battles here.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

I was yelled at for eating my lunch on a train, they just would not let it go. In the end it got so bad I packed up my BBQ , sausages and steaks folded my tarp and got off. Some people!

18 ( +21 / -4 )

I noticed that staring at foreigners on the train didnt make the list. I guess they (the locals) dont realise just how rude that is. Maybe they should go to another country and sit there and stare the way they do on trains here. Would be an interesting learning curve for them....

4 ( +10 / -6 )

"I guess you've never had your shoulder used as a pillow"

I have. Nice when it's a girl. I'm always considerate to a sleeping beauty.

If it's a man it's different!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

**I have. Nice when it's a girl. I'm always considerate to a sleeping beauty.

If it's a man it's different!**

I don't care who it is, keep to yourself!! Hot guy, ugly guy, superstar... Do NOT lean on me and be surprised when you get a jab from my elbow and the look the death.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Hatsoff,

Classic thanks that was the best laugh l have had in ages. You got me there.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@tmarie - oh really, powder? Oh yes, that would be different. And brushing their hair too - yeuck. Hair flying all over the place. But I often see women popping a bit of lippy on, or even painting their nails with the bottle lodged carefully between their knees. Again - if it doesnt impact on anyone around you, I dont see the big deal.

I commuted for years on the London tube and believe me - THERE are a bunch of passengers with a reason to be pissed off at the world! But I honestly havent seen the lack of consideration that I see here in Tokyo. I often saw men offering women their seats who werent even pregnant, just because it was a nice thing to do, or people standing up for someone else and saying "I only have one more stop to go" etc etc. I agree with what someone else said - I dont necessary think most Japanese are bad-mannered, I think they are simply inconsiderate and dont think. I dont think they are taught to beyond the rote manners-learning of "o jama shimasu" and suchlike. The London subway staff were shockingly rude though.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm always annoyed by the fact that the perennial scapegoats for bad train manners are always young people. In twelve years of 90-minute commutes, I've seen dozens of JHS-age citizens stand and offer their seat to people who need it.

But not once, in all these years, have I seen a man over 45 extend a similar courtesy. They are the ones, in their cheap suits who sit there pretending to be asleep, or picking their teeth, or knuckle-deep up their own sinuses, staring into the middle distance since if you don't make eye contact with someone they cease to exist. And the way they position themselves with their backside in the middle of two seats when there are people standing is inexcusable - but no more inexcusable than the spinelessness of locals who don't possess the courage to politely ask them to move over a bit.

But what annoys me more than that is when people start making excuses for them. "Oh, they are maybe tired". Well, guess what? We're all tired. And I'll lay you a pound to a penny that getting up at five so you can run about a sports field, then sitting through a day of dreary lectures by a bunch of halfwits who can't teach, then playing tennis and then going to juku is a bit more demanding than pretending to look at Excel sheets inbetween cigarette breaks. And if a teenager can conduct himself like a civil human member of a society, then so can you.

Now move your arse over, Toshi. This barbarian's sitting down.

29 ( +29 / -2 )

Sounds like the 50-year-old groper in the females-only car was a dude in drag.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

i like to live my life in accordance with the word - "Relax"

I rarely get annoyed or angry, I find that I have almost no problems with people or their mannerism and everything just runs a lot smoother. Im not saying to be "slower" or not have any "drive" or ambitions, I just mean on a daily basis, being relaxed really helps. If people just relaxed - most of these small problems wouldn't occur. In the grand scheme of life - is someone who is sitting with bad posture really going to affect you on a deep personal level? If you answer yes, I recommend you see a shrink.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

i never understood what is wrong with putting make up on in the train? why does this bother Japanese people so much. mind your own f*ing business

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

whoever thumbs downed me needs to relax.. and yes I know how much it sucks being told to relax lol.

-11 ( +6 / -16 )

But I often see women popping a bit of lippy on, or even painting their nails with the bottle lodged carefully between their knees. Again - if it doesnt impact on anyone around you, I dont see the big deal. Lip gloss is fine but nail polish? That stuff sinks and if Keiko drops it, all over the place it goes!

*i never understood what is wrong with putting make up on in the train? why does this bother Japanese people so much. mind your own fing business**

Perhaps they could do their business in the privacy of others? Trains are public, putting make up on is not. It's a private thing - that's the whole point of make-up. Slap on the war paint and then go out, not slap it on while out.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

yasukuni: "Girls putting on make-up is bad manners..."

What's rude about it? I mean, it's your opinion and so I respect it, but I'm curious what people find rude about this. Sure, in the past people usually don their make-up BEFORE leaving the house, but it's a whole lot different than if they got on the train in their pajamas and stripped down to dress (that might be more entertaining!) and it's completely harmless.

I agree with you 100% about people not standing up for the elderly or pregnant women, etc. I mean, it DOES happen, but it's become the exception and not the norm. It's especially frustrating when people do this in the priority seating areas of a train. Not only that, but ignoring the request not to use cell phones in those vicinities is more or less pointless because NO ONE follows that 'rule'.

tmarie: "Trains are public, putting make up on is not. It's a private thing - that's the whole point of make-up. Slap on the war paint and then go out, not slap it on while out."

What's so private about it? That way of thinking is changing, and it's the public that needs to adapt around the girls, not the other way around. Now, if they drop some nail polish and indeed do some damage/harm to others, then fine, but that's the same with everything else.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Girls putting on make-up on is HOT, no matter where it is.

The things I hate on the train are not unique to the train carriage I am in; rather, I am forced to be around the kind of people I would ordinarily want to kerb-stamp within a second of meeting, in a less confined environment.

On the plus side, watching all those girls cross their big chunky tanned thighs in mini-skirts does make up for any discomfort...

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

for me the problem is the lack of common courtesy. nobody says excuse me, they just push and expect you to move. i'm sorry but if you want me to move, you have to ask or i will push back!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I don't think I will ever understand people complaining about people noise in one of the most mechanically noisy places the average person winds up in a day. The train is loudly going along with KLACKCLACK K KLAK, the brakes SCREEEEEECH, the horn WOOOOOOOT, and somebody's headphones are annoying you??? Their conversation? Their cell phone? Somebody dared to laugh? Ridiculous!

And visual disturbances? Please! Just look away! I don't care if its porn, just look away. Same with putting on make-up, eating, playing a game, etc.

Bad odors though. Not much you can do but leave, and sometimes you can't leave. That I understand. But not when its simple food. Natto? That I understand.

Somebody having a beer? What is that? Jealousy?

Pushing is right out. That is rude. And poking or jabbing others. And failure to give up your seat for someone who needs it more than you? Also, very rude. Same with line cutting.

Manners for the most part I find to be way too subjective. People need to be more objective about them and need to patch their own needless weakness rather than start bleating about bad manners. But we see the number one complaint is about others conversations. Silly.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

fds and IncenseAndPeppermints, I agree with you both 100%.

Objective manners are the way forward; we live in an age of global communication, where the little cultural pockets of BS are no longer valid. Sure, keep the positive, unique sides of your culture, but using this uniqueness to basically act like a dog is no more.

Silly, indeed.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"Manners for the most part I find to be way too subjective. People need to be more objective about them and need to patch their own needless weakness rather than start bleating about bad manners."

This is an especially good point.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

IvanCoughanoffalot; Wow, you and me need to go for a pint, old boy. Your post is absolutely spot on!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I live in Paris. Brief breakdown of the Parisian metro : Dirty, falling to bits, full of people having loud conversations, full of pick-pockets, people always trying to get on the train before letting people off, beggars asking for money (a record of three in one journey last week), buskers getting on and playing music, drunkards, gropers, nobody giving a toss about anyone else.... I could go on.

I'm a very peaceful person, but the metro here in rush hour actually fills me with a murderous rage. Compared to here, the Japanese metro is like a dream!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I like catching the train in Tokyo in the rush hour.

All human life is there.

As for the story, I don't believe the scenario of the groping obasan. It's obviously not impossible but it seems more likely to be the result of the (male) writer's imagination working overtime.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Also recently saw a woman clipping her kids nails and letting them fall to the floor on the subway. Still haven't seen that in Japan yet! >_<

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What shocked me more than anything was the gratitude of an old lady that I gave my seat up to on a train from Minami Nagareyama to Nishi Kokobunji. When I am in Japan I normally avoid commuter times (joys of being on holiday) but this day I wanted a decent amount of time for wandering about... anyway, the train was crowded and the priority seats were occupied by salarymen and office ladies and this little old lady came on. I got up to give her my seat, and actually had to glare at a bloke who tried to get into the space before the old lady did. Anyway, she did something I've never seen before and actually took my hands to thank me. Is it so rare for guys to give up a seat to an old lady?

13 ( +14 / -2 )

What's so private about it? That way of thinking is changing, and it's the public that needs to adapt around the girls, not the other way around. Now, if they drop some nail polish and indeed do some damage/harm to others, then fine, but that's the same with everything else.

Obviously raised very differently. There are certain things you don't do in public. Make-up is one of them. So is shaving, brushing your teeth and clipping your nails but I have seen all of them done in teacher's rooms. The whole point of make-up is to make yourself appealing to others. How is putting on your mask in front of everyone appealing?

And adapt? Why should we adapt to them? If they want to wear make-up, they can get up early to put it on. Same goes for the guys shaving.

Nail polish stinks. I don't want to be stuck on a train with the smell of it.

When you share public space, you're supposed to be aware of other people and try not to bother them. Putting on make-up/nail polishing, reading porn, chatting loudly on your phone (or to friends) is inconsiderate and often in poor taste. Being crushed together is bad enough, why add insult to injury?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Is it so rare for guys to give up a seat to an old lady?

Cant speak for old ladies as I am not quite there yet(!) but I can tell you it is rare for a pregnant woman to be given a seat unless you shame them by directly asking for it.

One time though, a woman not in a priority seat jumped up as soon as she saw me and offered me her seat. It was a hot day and I was very grateful and said "arigatou gozaimasu" at which point she replied in very fluent and VERY loud Japanese that she wasnt actually Japanese but Korean and not to expect any of these #$#%#$% to give me a seat because Japanese are #$#% and have no %$%& idea of basic manners etc etc etc. Everyone in the carriage suddenly found their shoes fascinating, and I sat down realising that the woman had only given up her seat to me to make a point and launch a tirade on the unsuspecting masses in the carriage. Was pretty funny tho...

17 ( +19 / -3 )

Other people are just too insensitive to think of others. And sometimes some are just plain attention whores. I admire those women who can manage to do their make ups while on the train, though. And mind you, that isn't sarcasm.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

i've had similar experiences thunderbird. A little compassion goes a long way. If you could call it compassion. It use to just be the norm.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've noticed recently that young women have the worst manners: make-up, loud conversations and simply plowing into people instead of looking out.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

People charging down the stairs to get on the train here in Nagoya can be annoying and dangerous, but on the whole Tokyo commuters seem to have better manners than those in other large cities, I would say.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I dislike those that do not let me go out the door to the platform.

And I hate those little kids with the Elmer Fudd hats that try to push in ahead of you. I grab them by the back of the collar and get on them big time.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I regularly ride 4+ lines in Kansai. I had the impression somewhere less than 10 yrs ago that manners got worse.

Sitting posture is a very big problem, I doN't know why everyone is making fun of that. I take it to mean elbows and knees apart. Also, sitting like a stone and pretending you haven't even noticed when someone sat down next to you. When this is a 2 seater seat, and you are occupying approximately 1.3 of the whole 2 seat space, it is beyond rude. And just absurd if you are a 168 cm ossan who probably needs 0.7 or less of the total space. Moving or "scrunching" when someone sits down, or even preferably before they sit down, so that you leave space open for them used to be commonplace, and I even saw older ppl chewing out younger for not doing it. That's all stopped.

I don't mind games per se, but somebody hunched over their game repeatedly jerking and jumping is really annoying. And when the earphones are turned way up, much more annoying than music too that's too loud.

I agree when somebody said that J ppl are good at proscribed situation manners. Yes, when they meet someone new, and they introduce themselves, they can be very polite. (Especially if they are representing someone else, like their workplace.) If they are in a situation of playing host, or something, can be polite. But amongst strangers, horribly rude. And in a fluid situation when things change and proscribed codes don't work right away or are not clear, can be hard for them to adapt.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@Smithinjapan, I'm saying it's rude in terms of social norms. LIke many things, maybe there's no science for it, it's just what people teach others and what you see in all the etiquette books. What's interesting is that basically men don't care much. Ask women and they'll all tell you how it's wrong. And probably the older they are, the more it disgusts them. Not saying Tmarie is old of course....

Now whether a woman putting on makeup is a type of flirting is a different topic, but it maybe a reason why lots of women are against it. Funny, I just asked a few people about this subject, and one said that her mother always said that only "loose women" put on makeup on trains!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't see why the papers always quote older people complaining about all the darn young-uns, and then declare how manners are getting worse. Yes, a bunch of loud high school kids can be annoying, but IMO the rude old men chomping on phlegm and coughing loudly and the old ladies babbling on endlessly in loud voices have always been more annoying. Methinks if there is a decline in politeness and manners, the kids are just following in their elders' footsteps.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Besides being stared at and farted on. I dunno. Not so bad. I do love how the average salaryman gets hit by the instant sleep monster when baba or jiji are standing in front of them hanging onto rings for dear life. I cannot believe that people complained about bumping though. Unless you are wearing a KY jelly suit, stuff like that is going to happen. About the pregnant lady thing, I actually made a mistake. I thought she was 8 months but she was actually 3 years pregnant from too many yakiniku trips.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When you share public space, you're supposed to be aware of other people and try not to bother them. Putting on make-up/nail polishing, reading porn, chatting loudly on your phone (or to friends) is inconsiderate and often in poor taste.

@tmarie - spot on. Good manners are all about considering others when sharing public space. Sure, the things in the article aren't the end of the world, but they are a display of poor taste. And it doesn't half wind me up when men insist on touching my leg with theirs when sitting next to me (when it's perfectly possible not to).

Cletus - glad you saw the funny side. The humorless mods didn't, and deleted the post.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And probably the older they are, the more it disgusts them. Not saying Tmarie is old of course....

These things have always bothered me - even when I was 21 and first arrived.

And I agree, I think the youngers kids/students are better behaved. It seems to start to slide when uni ages. Personally the 45-60 year old group seem to be the worst offenders!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Once when I was on crutches I had to tap the leg of a surly young dude to give me his seat. It was actually dangerous for me to not be seated at that point in my recovery. He snarled but got up. Other than that unpleasant moment, I had many instances of kindness shown me. These days, healthy, I leave the iconed seats to those who need them, while previous to my time of infirmity I was a bit indifferent. Live and learn.

I see many instances of kindness on the train. Overly loud earbuds can be turned down with a polite request. Gals and their stupid makeup performances are not attractive to witness. Do it at home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Two words: Spatial. Awareness.

When the doors open and you step out of the train, keep moving. Do not stand in front of the door twiddling with your phone while other people want to get on the train.

When you get to the top of an escalator, do not take one step off and then just stand there typing out e-mail. There are people behind you who want to keep moving.

When walking in an enclosed space, do not align your body in the exact center of the space, leaving too little room on either side of you for anyone moving faster to walk ahead of you.

When walking with other people, do not walk three abreast, filling the entire corridor, and then look all surprised when someone walking the other way needs to get past you. At the very least, step aside and give way before looking at your two friends to see which one of them is going to move first.

It isn't hard, people. And this kind of behavior will get you body-checked -- by people heavier than you -- if you try it in less non-confrontational parts of the world.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I don't see any problem with a girl putting on makeup, or someone playing games or w/e on their keitai/PSVita or w/e (as long as they have headphones). Its no problem with a person talking on their phone as long as they know volume control of their own voice. The groping and physical assault issues on the other hand are beyond "bad manners", thats a crime and should be taken care of. The rest of it is mostly little annoyances that some people need to keep tolerance for though.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ask any Japanese to define the qualities of Japaneseness - those facets of innate behaviour which make them so very unique (sic), and a pound to a penny you'll get "We Japanese must consider those around us, not only ourselves, and think of how they might judge us" or words to that effect. At this point, you must shout the word "Bollocks" and commence mooning.

I recall the time five years ago when I had two herniated discs in my neck. Without a shadow of a doubt more pain than I've experienced before or since. Standing in front of the "courtesy" seats, with a neck brace on, trying desperately to hold myself as still as possible since the slightest motion set of a chain of spasms.

Naturally, I did not expect anyone to offer me the courtesy of a courtesy seat, since the three able-bodied occupants (Shiny-suited salaryman, two thirty-something women - no "young people" to be blamed for this, thank you very much) had performed the mystic stratagem of focusing their eyes elsewhere, rendering me invisible.

But when one of the women stood up to leave and at that point offered me her seat, I started to gingerly adjust myself to avail myself of as close to courtesy as I could expect. It took a while, as I needed to turn 180 degrees, which involved bending my spine, which involved - you guessed it - a chain of spasms.

I had not expected to be shouldered out of the way by a thirty-something lipless shrew who believed invalidity was another uniquely Japanese concept (like courtesy), and as I wasn't qualified, she was having the seat.

By crikey, she learned some choice anglo-saxon between that point and the next station, where she got off with her vision fixed dead ahead and away from anyone else's eyes. I made such a scene that somebody else on the courtesy seat offered me a seat. I think it was the line, bellowed as I pointed to the sticker on the window behind her, "What's your disability? This is mine (pointing at neck brace). What's yours? Being ugly is not a disability" Which prompted a response.

When they say ""We Japanese must consider those around us", what they omit is "...when we think anyone we might know is looking, at which point we perform a pantomime. Otherwise, you're on your own, pal, and I'm not going to offer you the courtesy of focusing my eyes".

It's only the spinelessness which holds them back from making a scene that prevents the subway system from being a daily bloodbath.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

I have to say I agree that manners have gotten a lot worse since the tsunami and earthquake of last year. I also agree that which manners we should truly consider bad should be thought about. Trying to get on the train as I am trying to get off and also not putting your bag on the shelf and instead trying to plant it in my groin or up my arse are favourites of mine. I must say though that 20 something professionals seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to bag to bag contact. Old ladies of course are the worst for trying to get on before we get off. Seating offences? I really couldn't point to the biggest offenders though I have rarely seen a middle aged businessman give up his seat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Two words: Spatial. Awareness.

Situational awareness. But I agree with your post.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My friend is already 7 months pregnant and her belly is quite obvious to any human being. She has a pin denoting pregnancy. And guess what, she has to stand everyday in front of the silver seat while young students, or middle aged employees don't care. In the course of her pregnancy, maybe only 3 or 4 ocassion did somebody offered seat to her. Priority seats are there for a reason. Some people need it more than a tired oyaji in his late 40's or a high school student who went to a cram school last night.

What are they teaching in school these days?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I could write a book about the things I have witnessed and experienced as a Tokyo commuter. I had a good laugh a the list of "sins" that annoy people on trains. Some of these people really need to get a life. Ok, the sight of a Japanese girl putting on makeup on a train is enought to make me want to vomit, but I just move to another carriage where the behaviour is half civilised. The myth of "Japanese politeness" was shattered for me many years ago, on trains at least. I was bemused by the comments of the lady who was groped on a train in the "Women's Only" carriage. I've always thought that carriage was discrimination against men. There are lots of Japanese women chikan on trains. I've been groped by them, I've seen them grope Japanese salarymen, yet we still do not have "Men Only" carriages! Oh, and of course, on the notoriously crowded lines, like the Saikyo Line, there a loads of frustrated Japanese salarymen groping each other very day, and worse. Maybe I should write that book, after all....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Once on my way home I got groped by a woman around age 50. Since I’m a woman, it didn’t bother me that much, but her hands were definitely roaming over my hips and thighs.

If I were a guy into that kind of thing, and this ain't my bag, but if it were... I'd dress up as a woman and get on that train too. Course, the height and girth might throw people off, but if I were a shorter person... Still, expectations (that only women board those cars) are very powerful so I think it would still work.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

By crikey, she learned some choice anglo-saxon between that point and the next station, where she got off with her vision fixed dead ahead and away from anyone else's eyes. I made such a scene that somebody else on the courtesy seat offered me a seat. I think it was the line, bellowed as I pointed to the sticker on the window behind her, "What's your disability? This is mine (pointing at neck brace). What's yours? Being ugly is not a disability" Which prompted a response.

lol the irony. you complain about people being rude but then you make such a scene and a disturbance not to one person but to the entire train. please realize you were being just as bad, if not worse, than the woman who ~stole~ your priority seat. if I were on that train I would've told you to take a taxi if you're in such bad condition that you can barely ride.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

lachtatamber - if you had done that, you would have been mooned.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@IncenseandPeppermints

IncenseAndPeppermintsJUN. 19, 2012 - 04:45PM JST I don't think I will ever understand people complaining about people noise in one of the most mechanically noisy places the average person winds up in a day. The train is loudly going along with KLACKCLACK K KLAK, the brakes SCREEEEEECH, the horn WOOOOOOOT, and somebody's headphones are annoying you??? Their conversation? Their cell phone? Somebody dared to laugh? Ridiculous!

Post of the day right here. Amen!!! The train system here was designed to usher the working class masses. Despite what most of you think it is a control mechanism. Your life, your freedom, your employment are ruled by this very powerful transit authority. Yet some ppl wish to pass judgement on others.

There should be absolutely no reason for ANYONE to complain about me playing Angry Birds Space on my Ipad on the train. I have headphones and believe it or not I can still hear YOU gabbing and giggling.

If I'm hungry and I have some snacks in my bag.....I'm eating. You don't like people eating.......that's tough (expletive). Cry me a river. This is delicious!! Want a bite?

For anyone to eat on the train, in one of the most unsanitary environments ever, they must be really hungry with no time at all. Pardon them cause they have much worse things in life to deal with.

Now if you are woman complaining on this thread...well....I think you need to go to your car. They gave it to you so you can feel all high and mighty. Why are you in this car? In the women only car they understand make-up.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Couple of personal experiences : when my wife was pregnant it was usually the youngish salarymen not sitting in priority seats that always gave up their seats. This was on the subways of Tokyo. However, when she rode on any of the lines on the west side of Tokyo (such as the Seibu line), nobody gave up their seats. As for rude manners, I usually give people the evil eye. I'd rather not make a scene / disturb the "wa" but I really can't tolerate too much. One time a bunch of rowdy, drunk young students came on the train at around 11pm and starting behaving like monkeys. I stood up and gave them a menacing stare. That shut them up real quick. One thing I'd like to see more of is the station staff breaking up fights. Just last month I saw a "yankee" punk and a salaryman get into a shoving match. The staff had an apologetic smile and put his arms between the two but was actually doing very little to break up the fight. I was in a hurry to go meet a client but I walked up to the two of them and yelled at them in English to knock it off. They were more than a little surprised.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Girls putting on make-up on is HOT, no matter where it is."

I agree with you. I can't keep my eyes off them, especially if they're attractive.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't feel it has changed much in the last 6 years I've been here. A few things I find annoying are Bad Body Odor, Sake Breath and Men with their Sports Newspapers with Topless Young Women for all to See. I appreciate the female body but on a train with people of all ages to see totally inappropriate.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've noticed recently that young women have the worst manners: make-up, loud conversations and simply plowing into people instead of looking out.

And hanging all over their boyfriends....who are just as soft, immature and giggles and acts so stupid ... going back and forth in childish stupidity.....I haven't stepped on them or anything yet but it drives me absolutely bonkers.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

No mention of tobacco reeking losers on the trains? It turns out that 3rd hand smoke poisoning has a harmful affect on others. Not as bad as second hand smoke but still annoying and unhealthy for others. Yes, you smokers may not be aware but you stink.

Putting make up in the train is like passing gas in the train. It does not belong there at all. For those that find it hot to see it, you are in need of therapy. Or you are trolls.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It seems that the Japanese in Kansai and especially Kanto area are slipping from their Japaneseness if that was truly the reason for them being polite in the first place. The Fukuoka subway and trains seem to be filled with a nicer sort of people. Realist, I hear you! I too have been the victim of some very shady behavior in Tokyo. It is a myth that it is only guys seeking affection on trains. The thing that astounds me the most is that when I hear Japanese women talk about chikan or stalkers or any similar type of behavior, they seem to be more abhorred by the fact that the offender was not good looking and young, but old or poor or ugly. My fiancee told me jokingly that even if I was a chikan, I would never get in trouble.

I also think rules always serve a purpose and the purpose should be protected, not the rule. Don't put on make up, don't talk loudly, don't... IF IT WILL PROBABLY OFFEND SOMEONE. Just consider the people around you.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"I'd be interested to find out how many complained about the smell of perfume," I am all right, but my wife hate it. She almost be sick with. Women car is not oasis for her. ;-)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

gaijinfo - "Oh, the horror."

I once entered a train with 1 open spot next to a fat salaryman. his legs were so spread wide he was occuping 1.5 seats (hence no one was sitting there). Using my leg strength I moved into position to sit, moving his legs into a more acceptable closing position so that I could sit. He freaked out and slapped his knee hard and called me out on it. I told "taro kun" to look at the people around him and count how many were sitting like him. Then I congratulated him on his upcoming baby being birthed, because he looked like he was about to go into labor with his posture. He shut up after that. Other passengers had smiles in response.

OMGhontoni - ".....but you still get the odd few who say "screw you, I was here first"! "

I see this a lot. Have yet to see someone refuse to get up tho. Once called out 2 young budding salarymen about this. I was seated in a super packed train and got up to get off, they pushed in front of others to get the seat, one of which was a pretty old woman who had just gotten on the train. Called em out in loud japanese what kinda manboy they think they are when women are around. They capitulated without a word. I firmly believe we can thank the fact society avoids confrontation and it's so embedded in the culture here that some extroverts take advantage of it. Only solution is to call them out publicly imo. Strategic use of words usually will resolve the situation (assuming no language skill issues, and ability to speak calmly during a situation). I occasionally eat some nigiri or bread on the train when I havent had a chance to take a lunch (usually when servers have crashed during the morning). This is also almost always standing up (not by choice!). Not much more difficult coordinating your eating than using a phone imo... so long as 1 hand is on the ring its all good i think. Wouldnt want to try this with a chilli hotdog tho.

ReformedBasher - "....I've had to educate people on what a bus queue is and how to participate in it constantly. "

I once encountered a line jumper like this while waiting for a bus years and years back. I called him out on this and made sure to put my body in between bus entrance and him, while directing the rest of the line into the bus. I was first in line, but small price to pay for educating childmen.

Probie - ".... who think it's imperative that they read their silly little book when the train is packed"

I am guilty of this! I had a fairly large book on how to learn the meaning and history of Kanji. 1 hand held a ring, the other was crooked to hold my book. I was standing in front of the seats middle between doors. I didnt realize at first but my elbow was rubbing up against a woman beside me. Didnt think much of it at first until that area became fairly firm and hard. Got no complaints from the incident =)

Another such incident I witnessed, a lanky white dude (musta been early 20's). He was emailing someone in english on his phone. He had poor eyesight so he used big text mode. I could clearly read his message "wont make it to the party on time, am too busy looking down the shirt of this cute japanese girl in front of me". I didnt say anything, but lol'ed because of the fact that he was surrounded by overweight salarymen. Poser.

An american coworker a while back was telling me a story of some yout picking his nose and pulling out a big chunk. He proceeded to plaster it all over the hand rail. No one called him out on it, and the coworker actually said he had wished I was there (guy doesnt speak Japanese well) to do so. I admit that it did sound like a situation I would have felt compelled to speak out about. Disgusting.

Overall tho, I am somewhat tolerant of music, beeps, games, books, etc.... Porno, taking up more than 1 seat, groping, blocking doors... those are unacceptable.

What gets me going is the dudes standing in front of the door of packed train who when the door opens do not move out of the way for those exiting the train. Those ones get a good shove. Also, those waiting to board the train who do not respect those getting off - if they did it orderly they'd get on sooner. Once had to palm push yet another overweight salaryman who was standing right in the middle of the 2 doors waiting to get on the train while several people wanted to get off. He got moved back and to the right (into the line of other people waiting to get on properly.

I guess that makes me one of the "rude" passengers...? but IMO i believe I am only enforcing common sense. Something that is lacking in this society.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Jotter

The Fukuoka subway and trains seem to be filled with a nicer sort of people.

Nicer? Fukuoka??? As a Fukuokian, I beg to differ, they are nicer by being sneaky by stealing your seat and gently, but briskly shoving you aside to get a seat, all the while smiling and a soft "Sumimasen" People in Fukuoka are extremely at telling you off. Was listening to Ozzie on my iPod a few months back, thought only I could hear it, but Noooooo, sound was bleeding out and man smiled, touched my shoulder and asked me to kindly please turn it down, my L.A. instincts tingling were telling me to body slam his a** and to curse him out, but he was so nice and non-confrontational, I thought, ahh, I couldn't do it, so I just said, "sorry." So coming from that angle, yes, they might be nicer, but their deeds are just as obnoxious and overly rude.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I also have some shocking revelations to Tokyo commuters: I am about a foot taller and probably 1.5 times heavier than you. When you bumb into me running, please don't be so surprised when it's not I who bounces and goes flying into other passengers, as undoubtedly was your really clever plan to be two minutes earlier at work. Physics doesn't work like that. Not even in Japan. Not even for you. Get over it, deal with it, the next train is but a few minutes away anyway.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I more annoyed at people who put their bags on the seat than anything else. I mean who cares?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ivan-

you should have sat on her.

Just the other week, a kid (early 20s) was talking non stop to his friend, both host-ish decked out, like a machine. Not necessarily fast or loud, he just didn't sound like a person, and nonstop. Every so often haucked up a big luggie, real slow and real loud, in the middle of his machine speech. No spitting sound, so I really thought he was just clearing his throat, but no, he was totally nonchalantly spilling it over his lip down onto the ground. Continuously, every 3-5 mins. The sound of his voice, the sound of the hauck, the reality of the soup-on-the-ground. It turned my stomache for 40 mins.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Japan needs to sort out what really is bad manner or not. Pushing and shoving or not vacating a seat to elderly or pregnat is not the same as playing games on cell phone or sitting inapropriately. Make up your minds and then complain... otherwise it's just pointles ranting.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually, how about going to root cause of these issues? Has anyone tried that yet?

General stress Clockwork operations: businesses start at 9 and finish at 6. All of them! This is just ridiculous.. Have some flex time, free up train space, save energy! Stop minding other people's business! Poor station design. Look it's not difficult to design a station. Escalators up, escalators down, a stairway and a couple of elevators, positioned properly along the platform. Why do they have all sorts of obstacles to make your way in and out extremely difficult? Not enough trains. 5 minute gaps during rush hour and 10 during early evening in central Tokyo is unacceptable. in Moscow trains arrive every 40 seconds... and there is a timer on the wall proving that! Extremely poor climate control. I understand the nonexistent need to conserve energy, so here is an idea: turn off the useless LCD screens in trains or make less announcements, shut off the lights in billboards, etc, but for Christ’s sake, i don't want to know what the dude next to me smells like! And station staff: stop screaming in the microphones! You are not in a rock concert! There is so much echo nobody can make it out what you are saying anyway! And don’t apologize for train delay, it’s not your fault; tell us how long we have to wait, in minutes! Fix the damn problems and see how people's behaviour improves!
-2 ( +2 / -4 )

**My friend is already 7 months pregnant and her belly is quite obvious to any human being. She has a pin denoting pregnancy. And guess what, she has to stand everyday in front of the silver seat while young students, or middle aged employees don't care. In the course of her pregnancy, maybe only 3 or 4 ocassion did somebody offered seat to her. Priority seats are there for a reason. Some people need it more than a tired oyaji in his late 40's or a high school student who went to a cram school last night.

What are they teaching in school these days?**

Perhaps your friend could get a voice and say something? The problem is that no one says anything and ignores it. If she spoke up, she'd get one. Is she really that meek that at seven months pregnant she worries more about asking someone to move than her and her unborn baby's safety that she won't tell a student to move?? The reason WHY these people behave as they do it because no one calls them out on their behaviour.

And school? I'm sorry, why is it a teacher's job to teach people how to behave outside of school hours? Where I'm from, that's a parent's job, not a teacher's.

I have to say, I now make a beeline for those with bags on seats. Did it today. I will sit on their bags if they aren't fast enough to move them - open seat around or not, I am making them move their damn bags.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Great thread.

Manners are not THAT bad, I think. I used to ride the Barcelona Metro and there people didn't even bother with headphones. They just played their lovely arab hits from some little tape recorder for all to enjoy. When they didn't do that, some of them liked to smoke. INSIDE the train. And why not mention the likable accordion players that made my morning commutes loud and unrelaxing.

So people shove a little on the Tokyo Metro. They get it back soon enough. Most people taking up much space do so because people are to timid to sit down next to or tell them to move over. I find that most people DO move when prompted to do so. Girks putting on make-up doesn't bother me the slightest. Instead, I find it fascinating that the plainest looking girl in the world can enter the train only to look very hot 15 minutes later.

There is a great difference by commuting in Tokyo vs. Yokohama, though. Edokko for the most part are skilled in using a subway. Hamakko are not.

But best of all is: you will mostly be left alone. And remember, a sumimasen goes a long way...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

lachtatamber - if you had done that, you would have been mooned.

hee hee! Sorry Ivan - every sympathy with your neck problems, but I just have an image in my head now of a guy in a neck brace on a crowded train awkwardly fiddling with this belt buckle whilst trying to not actually move at all, and then gingerly lowering his kecks millimetre by millimetre in order to carry out said threatened manouevere! I think the impact would have been lost by the time you got them down, but full marks for effort and intent!

The only way to deal with these people is to call them out on it. I will never forget my friend telling me that she got onto a crowded train with her toddler, and the guy next to her complained that the kids shoes were touching him. She immediately apologised and asked if he could help her by just removing the shoes as she was carrying the child, and some bags, and it was too difficult on a crowded moving train to do it herself. He responded by spitting in her face, and then in the childs face. Sorry but I dont think people who behave like that should be able to get away with it. My friend gently placed her child on the ground where someone who saw the whole thing held her hand and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of the guy. Extreme, yes. But I cant say if someone spat in my childs face that I wouldnt do the same thing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oh yes, lazy young fools sitting in the Silver seats when a very, very pregnant woman is standing right in front of them, man this pisses me off! The other day, an old woman was standing and also a pregnant woman standing while some young jerk and his ugly girlfriend kanojo where just holding hands in love and not caring about others, my big, strong amigo from Peru and I looked at each other, saying in Spanish that these young Japanese are just so rude, so before the next station came, OI KONNOYARRO, TATE OMAE, and the young Japanese punk was surprised we could not only speak Nihongo but we grabbed this young punk and kind of helped out of the train around Ogikubu station and his fugly girlfriend also somehow got the hint to get the hell off of the train. You all should have seen the deep, deep OJIGIS, deep bows of respect and appreciation by the poor old woman and the younger pregnant mother for my good amigo from Peru and me.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Elbuda, thanks for that. How many people are now thinking "Yep, those gaijin sure are rude, did you see them grab those poor kids? They could have just asked them to move".

This is the issue, why didn't granny say something if she wanted to sit down? Speak up people. No one has a right to complain they can't get a seat if they don't voice it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Speak up people. No one has a right to complain they can't get a seat if they don't voice it.

Hear, hear, tmarie. Just look at the common thread throughout the article:

“I thought about saying to him, ‘Before you complain about other people, you ought to consider your own lack of manners!’ but decided it was more trouble than it was worth.”

i.e. I did nothing.

‘Can this really be happening?’ I said to myself, but felt resigned that there was nothing to do about it.

i.e. I did nothing.

“Just apologize to them,” he says, quoting an old expression that goes “Kunshi aya uki ni chika yorazu” (a wise person never courts danger).

i.e. It is your cultural heritage to be pusillanimous.

When Two-Arse Tanaka is assuming his customary position, I politely request he move over. If he pretends not to hear me, he gets sat on. I find he generally becomes more aware of those around him at that point.

People are rude because people are timid. It's a cycle. Stand up for yourselves, for god's sake. If you're too meek to ask someone in your own language to be civil, you are going to be ignored.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Thanks for that last post, Ivan. People must speak up. A pregnant woman must point out to the people refusing to offer her a seat that she is entitled to that seat. Would they please move? I always offer seats to those entitled to them by their age, infirmity or condition. Once two frail elderly women to whom I had offered my seat came over to where I had later found a seat . They bowed deeply and thanked me repeatedly before getting off. I was travelling in areas where there were few non-Japanese much of the time, and I often noticed that he locals had a limited awareness of others. It would be interesting to have hard statistics on how bad the situation really is. Is it less that 20% of the time but annoying whenever it happens? Or is it more than that and a telling symptom of social change or breakdown?

.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When it comes to pregnant women. I don't think it's necessary to give them preferential treatment. It's a nice thing to do. It shows that you are considerate but by no means does her pregnancy require that you give up your seat.

Now that there are Women-Only carriages in Japan the space has already been designated for women. While it is disheartening that there is so much friction now between men and women it is understandable why men feel no need to give up their seats.

I guess it's like a jungle in some ways. If I were pregnant, (I'm NOT) I don't expect other men to go out of their way for me. It's not like their my partner, right?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

My worst experience on a train was a 75+ year old man shaving his shaggy face with an electric razor getting face pubes all over me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Crystayle, your posts proves why people need to speak up. There shouldn't have to be women only cars - and I won't bother debating why they are useless and a bad idea. People with good manners offer up their seat to those who need it - be is a pregnant woman, an old man or a young guy with crutches and a heck brace. Poor mannered folks will pretend to be asleep or ignore others. People need to start calling people out on poor manners or it will only get worse. Speak up or stop complaining. I speak up and will make complaints. People can't expect others to move for them if they don't have the voice to state what they want.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's not poor manners to NOT give up your seat. I think you missed my point. I said it's not very "considerate". However the pregnant woman is responsible for her condition. It is unfair to any passenger to have to sacrifice for the choices she made.

Elderly and disabled passengers had no choice in the matter. The transit authority has made an effort in providing them a comfortable ride on their train lines.

As we all know, Japan is an aging society. The number of elderly outnumber the silver seats. A considerate passenger would offer their normal seat to them. However it is of no obligation for him to do so and it should not reflect on his manners. That individual who does not give up his/er seat is a member of the workforce that is repairing or trying to repair the mistakes made by the older generations.

Pregnant women, who have a considerable amount of blessings in this society, should avoid morning rush hours. I simply cannot accept the idea that it is bad manners to not give up your seat for a pregnant women. Pregnancy is done by choice and they don't need to be worshipped by society. Get there early if you want to get a seat.

If you sit on the platform, you stand on the train. If you stand at the platform, you might get a seat on the train. Thinking you can have both cause of your gender is not fair.

Women-Only cars i believe are a form of segregation and the discrimination is mostly towards men but now that society want's it that way. Women petitioned for it. Women should sit over there. Also put your make-up on over there.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Please cut and paste your above reply to your parents so they can see the mind of adult you turned into. My mother would be shocked if I made such comments. I have no doubt yours would to.

Do you think health isn't also caused by ones actions. You think all those old men who've smoked their adult lives deserve a seat more than a woman who is with child?

You think women's only cars are because women behave badly so need to be segregated?

Manners are all about consideration for others. No consideration for others is often equal to poor manners. It's unfair to those with good manners that they have to share a society - and a train car- with those who are selfish and inconsiderate. Perhaps we could segregate those with your thinking into a car?! I wonder how many people would be honest and ride that. You could be as rude as you like and not worry about who you offend and who you upset. I'll be in the polite car, offering up my seat to those in need and if I'm even in a situation where I need a seat, I hope hopes would do the same. If not, not worries. I'll tell them to move or sit on them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@tmaire

We are both right in the sense that it should be to each his own. I'm glad you will give up your seat. I'm glad you will but I won't. The pregnant woman in question should be in the women only car if she chooses to use the train system.

I think you got it wrong when you expect a complete stranger to suddenly pop tall simply because she's pregnant.

Being pregnant does NOT make you a celeb or the Oh so HOLY Virgin Mary. If other women who are not with child give up their seats good for them. But don't ask hard working men who bring home the bacon for their wives to be so kind to another woman.

This is a hamster wheel topic.

Men open the door for women, they don't say "Thank You". Man has good manners? Women NEVER open the door for men - Where are her manners?

Man gives up seat for women on the train. - Oh what a gentlemen Tired man, clearly exhuasted from work (regardless of age) Women never give up their seats - Where are her manners?

In each case I mention, it's a social norm that Men don't deserve the same consideration that women get.

Chivalry is gender specific?

My mom would not be shocked by anything I have to say. American girls are raised to be strong women, not dependent on the charity of others. Don't go through life expecting that everybody owes you something.

@tmarie One thing is very clear. WE have no right to say anything. If a commuter doesn't give up his / her seat for a pregnant women it's futile to say anything or think anything about it. It's first come, first serve on the train. Before you get pregnant in Japan be prepared to make adjustments that your lifestyle cause you aren't going to feel well and your belly is going to expand.

Sorry if we disagree but that's just my opinion. There are others that feel the same about this topic. Just because you are pregnant doesn't make you special. Anybody can do that.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Please cut and paste your above reply to your parents so they can see the mind of adult you turned into. My mother would be shocked if I made such comments. I have no doubt yours would to.

tmarie - I couldn't agree more. I think the previous diatribe suggesting women are selfish for getting pregnant ( men somehow escape a similar "guilt") then suggesting they refrain from using public transport says more about the poster than anything.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Crystalyle - You are under the impression that women-only cars are just as plentiful as regular trains. They aren't. I'd also venture to say that American girls are not brought up to be completely rude, selfish and inherently jealous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I respectfully disagree with your ideas. It is not realistic to think that in this day and age that people still believe in such chivalry. As I mentioned before, it's your choice to give up your seat or not. I feel the problem starts when bloggers here begin to pass judgement on commuters who remain in their seats.

Japan's trains are packed to the teeth. A pregnant woman has no business being there. She puts her child at risk which is irresponsible as a soon to be mother.

The only way to avoid getting stressed out or frustrated at other commuters is to exercise tolerance and patience. Your only choice is to make an adjustment to your lifestyle based on the train situation. Just because you are pregnant you should NOT EXPECT. If you find a gentleman on the train that gives up his seat, great. Nice guys finish last though. There's no reward in life for that. The pregnant woman isn't even going to try to hook you up with her friend.

There's no reciprocity for your kindness in this nation. So I end lt like this. Your sense of entitlement should not be the determining factor in whether or not someone has good manners.

Oh and one more thing. If the Women-Only cars are not available, there's ALWAYS the Green Car. If she has a boyfriend or husband he would be happy to pay the extra fare for her to sit in comfort.

-4 ( +4 / -7 )

I would want someone to give my wife a seat when pregnant on a crowded train. Especially in the last month. It is the least a healthy person can do and that includes women. Most Americans I know, women and men, would give their seat to someone in need. I guess not all, but they bring shame to my nation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@sodesuka Of course you want that. Yes, Americans are still the most supportive of people. We just do that. However when we link our opinions to ths topic, the frustations that commuters feel and the outbursts of anger, there is definitely a sense of entitlement which suddenly becomes our measuring stick on good manners.

In short, people are walking around with a chip on their shoulders. These train incidents that people have blogged about are examples of people with an extreme sense of entitlement. In some cases, they assume the rules are designed around them.

The only solution is NOT to expect anything when you use public transportation. Instead exercise patience and suppress your own beliefs when in public. This will keep you out of trouble and live a more stressfree life.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Americans are still the most supportive of people

Really? I didn't think so after reading this previous little nugget from a certain American;

Pregnancy is done by choice and they don't need to be worshipped by society. Get there early if you want to get a seat.

Very supportive and understanding indeed..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The only solution is NOT to expect anything when you use public transportation. Instead exercise patience and suppress your own beliefs when in public.

One of the saddest little posts I've ever read.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Crystalyle - I'm curious. What mass transportation punishment should be doled out to the selfish male egomaniacs who impregnate the selfish egomaniacal women? Maybe an honour system whereby they always queue at the back of each line?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We are both right in the sense that it should be to each his own. I'm glad you will give up your seat. I'm glad you will but I won't. The pregnant woman in question should be in the women only car if she chooses to use the train system.

So, pregnant women should be only allowed to travel at times when the women only carriages are in effect?

Oh and one more thing. If the Women-Only cars are not available, there's ALWAYS the Green Car. If she has a boyfriend or husband he would be happy to pay the extra fare for her to sit in comfort.

And they can only travel on some JR lines and the Shinkansen?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There's no reciprocity for your kindness in this nation

Ahh, then you really should come to these shores and hop on a train to see the reality because you've obviously never been here. Every single time I've offered my seat to someone, man or woman, it has been reciprocated with a hearty "thank you" and bows. You should try it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I witnessed a young lady get punched by a disgruntled construction worker on the Keikyu Line for talking on her phone. Several others witnessed this, and did nothing. I laughed because she deserved it. It's not so much the decline in public manners, but lack of Japanese people who are willing to stand up and say, or do something.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I witnessed a young lady get punched by a disgruntled construction worker on the Keikyu Line for talking on her phone. Several others witnessed this, and did nothing. I laughed because she deserved it.

Oh yeah because talking on a phone is such a terrible thing. Definitely deserved a punch from a big tough guy to a you no doubt small woman. Oh and that was sarcasm if you missed it.

I hope the big tough guy was so proud of himself, bet he wouldnt try it on someone his own size or bigger. Its a sad indictment on people when they resort to physical violence when someone talks on a phone. And what's worse is people watch it and do nothing or laugh!!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@cletus<< Yes. It was funny. She knew she was disobeying commuter etiquette. Like I have stated before, it's not so much the people who break the rules, it's the people who stand by and allow it to happen. Physical violence is merely a tool. Since when did we get away from it?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nippon Nation

@cletus<< Yes. It was funny. She knew she was disobeying commuter etiquette.

Ah ok so you endorse men beating up women if they disobey etiquette do you? And glad you find a grown man hitting a woman funny. Let me ask you this how would you like a person bigger and stronger than you punching you for some totally rubbish social etiquette reason and then having a fool laugh at you?

Like I have stated before, it's not so much the people who break the rules, it's the people who stand by and allow it to happen. Physical violence is merely a tool. Since when did we get away from it?

Glad you are happy for violence to be used to solve lifes minor problems. Just out of curiosity is it illegal (against a written law) to use your phone to talk on public transport? If no then butt out, if yes then call the cops. But to resort to violence wow.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Nippon Nation,

By the way l sometimes use my phone on the train and have never had a thing said to me, not once. Let alone been physically assaulted. I guess its the usual story the bullies always go after people smaller and weaker than themselves.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well well, for someone who says he supports pregnant women it seems you have no problem picking on girls here.

You of all people know the reality we live in here in Japan. There are 1000 things not to like happening on the train but Crystalyle is right. All you can do is be patient and suck it up. You know that Hoser. Give her some credit for telling the truth.

Just arrest these people. Punching girls on the train. What a derp!!

So what if the guy won't surrender his seat for a pregnant woman. It would be better for the pregnant woman to walk away from a possible nutcase than to insist and that idiot breaks out a weapon of some sort and harms the mother and child inside. her.

Be reasonable people and most of all be realistic.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Nippon Nation,

The case you mention, if that is what really happened, it would have been nice if some collective backbone would have existed. You don't punchh people for talking on the phone, no matter how annoying it might be. And you, laughing? Can't believe what I'm reading. Were there really no men in the train? No one had the guts to speak up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tairitsuiken<< There were several men on the train. One was sitting across from the assailant. He sat there and kept texting away. Nobody cared. The way the girl was carrying on on the phone was horrible and very rude.

@Cletus<< I won't bite that bullet of yours.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Nippon Nation - As a man, I would be embarrassed to say I was on the same train IF that actually happened and did nothing. Then again, I'm sure you neither laughed nor have told any actual friends about such cowardice.

NetNinja - as always, I'm confused by your posts. I'm reminded of a similar thread not long ago where you proudly proclaimed to have eaten an entire Big Mac meal in front of horrified passengers only to retract the claim later on. And as usual, your claims of somehow being a modern day Kunta Kinte in a bizarro world female-ruled Japan buggers belief. I don't even know where to start.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"supersixevoJUN. 19, 2012 - 08:05AM JST Consideration for the elderly?!? Come on! Who pays for them, develops drugs to keep them alive longer, builds their care homes, cares for them,and who created this stifling culture in the first place? They should be apologizing to us!"

This is the most ego-centric, ill-informed comment I've seen in a long time. Who spent all their years, sacrificing to make Japan strong, forgoing personal pleasures, giving to the next generation--and to get this abuse. You should be ashamed of your selfishness. You have probably never given a dime to anyone but yourself, swilling beer, enjoying yourself. These hard-working people in Japan have given incredibly to the future, and deserve some respect and admiration. How dare you come over here and talk like this. What gall, what chutzpah. Get thee hence young punk.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

We are both right in the sense that it should be to each his own. I'm glad you will give up your seat. I'm glad you will but I won't. The pregnant woman in question should be in the women only car if she chooses to use the train system.

Nope, we aren't both right. Also, many trains don't have women only cars....

But don't ask hard working men who bring home the bacon for their wives to be so kind to another woman. Yes, because the woman riding the train to work isn't hard working nor bringing home the bacon. Not only are you lacking manners, you're sexist to boot!

Women NEVER open the door for men - Where are her manners? I open doors for everyone and anyone. Gender and age don't matter. The same goes for standing up for whomever needs it.

Judging by your thumbs down, I'm not the only one who disagrees with you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan's trains are packed to the teeth. A pregnant woman has no business being there. She puts her child at risk which is irresponsible as a soon to be mother.

Yes, she should be chain to the kitchen, barefoot.

Oh and one more thing. If the Women-Only cars are not available, there's ALWAYS the Green Car. If she has a boyfriend or husband he would be happy to pay the extra fare for her to sit in comfort. Wrong, wrong, wrong. No green cars where I am and certainly not all lines have women only cars. Imagine, those hard working, bringing home the bacon men might just have to gasp, share with selfish pregnant woman!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@crystalyle<< When I was fresh off the plane I used to think that giving up the seat was the good thing to do, but have changed since. I would still give it up the pregnant ladies though, but not for an old person; I would simply just close my eyes and feign sleep.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

never seen punching or fighting on a train, except between two gaijin, and I stopped it. People need to lighten up.

I've seen two pissed Japanese guys, workmates I think, having a heated discussion on the Yamanote one night, which escalated into them grabbing each other's ties and waving clenched fists at each other. After a sharp reprimand from one of the other passengers, they both alighted the train and carried on their "discussion" on the platform.

Another time, some young punk (I think he was wired on speed or something) went absolutely apeshit when the driver wouldn't open the doors of the train after an emergency stop, where the train came to a halt half-way into the station. He went on for about five minutes, kicking the door over and over and over again, banging on the driver's compartment and shouting at him, going more and more red in the face. When the train eventually pulled in fully and the doors opened, he went outside to the driver's door and carried on banging and screaming at him.

But, for those of you who have to pack in to the really crowded trains - that's horrible. But I'd take a different route, or go to work an hourly earlier to avoid that.

The Tozai Line morning commute, from Funabashi to Nakano, is the worst I've seen for that. By the time you get to Gyotoku/Urayasu, the fricken train is absolutely jam-packed like sardines, to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if someone got asphyxiated or crushed and taken to hospital. It empties out around Nihonbashi/Otemachi, but those 8-10 stops in between are fricken hell on earth (especially with a hangover).

If you live in that area, you ain't got much choice but to take it if you work up in Tokyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't feel it has changed much in the last 6 years I've been here. A few things I find annoying are Bad Body Odor, Sake Breath and Men with their Sports Newspapers with Topless Young Women for all to See.

I think Tokyo's none too bad for smelly public transport journeys. The worst I've ever experienced was a combined smell of perfume, shit and onions. It was such a rarity, I can still visualize it now, on the Chuo-Sobu, from Akihabara through to Shinjuku. I'd probably take that over a journey on a bus in the UK I had the other day, with a guy in front smelling of stale, musty sweat, and the guy behind reeking of urine.

Give me natto breath and strong perfume any day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"declining public manners"

This has nothing to do with me. Why, just today I moved over one seat so two lovely young women could sit together next to me!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The effect of overcrowding was demonstrated a certain number of years ago. Rats were continually introduced into a limited space. It was shown that some rats developed cannibalistic tendencies as well as a host of other antisocial behaviour ,to the detriment of the other rats.

This phenomenon is known as the 'behavioral sink' and it seems that humans behave similarly to rats according to what everyone is saying here.....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think Tokyo's none too bad for smelly public transport journeys. The worst I've ever experienced was a combined smell of perfume, shit and onions.

Thanks, now you really just destroyed my mental image of Tokyo public transportations and I thought Fukuoka was bad.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thunderbird, bless your heart! Loved your comment about giving up your seat for that little old lady near Nishi Kokubunji, real close to my part of Tokyo! Ah, giving that mean glare to the younger idiot who tried to sit where you were just when you were offering your seat to the old lady, I do this almost every day!! But I learned a better technique to keep away these younger lazy scum away from the seat I am giving to an old woman, old man, pregnant woman, or say a poor woman holding a baby etc..I just pull on their hands, say konnichiwa and smile to them letting them I want them to sit where I am sitting, they usually will smile and say " ya ii desu" but this is just part of the whole enryo tatemae culture, but I insist and then you will see a HUGE smile on granny's face or granpa's or the woman who is about to give birth, or the young mother struggling to keep her young baby, etc..from falling out of her arms etc..Being from Mexico, this is only natural, a real man should be a gentlemen so boy oh boy if real Mexican women or other women see the horrible manners here by men on Japanese trains!!!! By the way, I love it when my sisters come to Japan, they already know the magic word, SUMIMASEN, and move that skinny ass sarariman ass over because this Mexican woman is sitting down NOW!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These train incidents that people have blogged about are examples of people with an extreme sense of entitlement. In some cases, they assume the rules are designed around them.

So what you are basically saying then, is even though there is a priority seat section, and even though there is a big sign saying "Please give up your seat" and 4 big pictures of someone elderly, infirm, pregnant, and carrying a small child, people who fall into these categories are selfish and have an extreme sense of entitlement for thinking the rules are designed around them.

Oh, and BTW - many pregnant women have to use the subway in rush hour. Its sort of how they get to work. Are you the foreigner who told my heavily pregnant and holding a toddler friend to eff off when she asked you if she could possibly sit down as she was struggling to stand? Wouldnt be surprised.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

uses this incident to consider the many ways in which rail passengers show lack of consideration toward their peers

More like lack of Common-Sense and Respect, but especially lack of Maturity.... Too many 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60-year olds Japanese running aroun with the maturity level of an 8-year boy.

I've not seen too many rude foreigners, (other than drunk English teachers) but I've seen hundreds of thousands of "sober"Japanese with the mentality of an 8-year old boy with the common-sense of a dog running around.

Grow up and take responsibility for your own actions Japanese Public..

Knives aren't the answer, but a few broken noses may be just what is needed for the Common-Sense vacuum here in Japan!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don't ride the trains any more unless I absolutely have to.I hate riding the trains and try never to. People are unfriendly and never smile. It seems everyone looks like they are trying to act so important and above each other. What is wrong with smiling a little bit or at least putting on a friendly face.

The looks that people have on their faces on the trains really bothers me. They all have that look like, "Don't even think of talking to me. I am from much better DNA stock to associate with anyone on this train." No, you are not that special. You are riding the train just like everyone else, so get over yourself.

If you are a skinny young woman, with your hair all done up, make up on and a "screw you" look on your face, make no mistake, I don't want to get with you, nor do I find you attractive at all. Beauty is as beauty does.

If you are a business man, housewife, a rocker or whatever and you have this face like you are so important, hey, you are riding the train. You couldn't be that important. So try to put on a happy face and we all might just have a better time.

If you are reading some magazine that has nasty pictures on it, you, of all people should not have that look on your face. You are disrespectful to women on the train, you horn dog.

I never listened to music or played games on the train but I saw older people getting angry over people wearing headphones and a little noise coming out of them or others playing videos games. Come on, now. Leave people alone. They are not that noisy, so chill out and shush. The train is making so much more noise. It seems to me the only reason you are complaining is that others are enjoying themselves and you are not. Plus that stench coming from your five-day old unwashed hair is DISGUSTING and far more disturbing.

And stop picking your noses on the train. DISGUSTING. Get some tissue!

Stop all the pushing. Take the next train. Another will come very soon anyway and you don't know who is on the other side of all your pushing. If you run into someone, please say something like, "excuse me". It works wonders on most people. I don't ride the trains, because when I do, I feel disgusted with the whole thing. Unfriendliness, pushing, attitudes and just the overall me, me, me personalities that permeate the transportation system in Japan have gotten me off the trains. I either drive or ride a motorcycle, even in the rain because I just feel like crap before, during and certainly after riding the trains.

The one thing that is always in my mind when I ride the train is simply, "Who do these people think they are?" No, thanks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@OMGhontoni - Are you kidding me? Did this actually happen?

Are you the foreigner who told my heavily pregnant and holding a toddler friend to eff off when she asked you if she could possibly sit down as she was struggling to stand?

That is despicable. But you know what is also horrible? Probably nobody stood up for her and told the guy off. I certainly would have. I can't imagine such an attitude! I doubt race had anything to do with it though. I saw a Japanese business man see a pregnant woman standing right in front of him on the train and he let an old woman next to him get up and give her seat to a the lady. When we got off the train, I called him on it and he ignored me and kept walking, until he finally got pissed and said, "Udasei". I got more excited and followed him out of the station were he got into a taxi and left. What a dirtbag.

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One could describe the whole Japanese society by just riding on trains. Despite the lack of manners I saw sometimes, Japanese people are well above the rest of other commuters in other countries. Here in Brazil, when I ride Sao Paulo subway, the people waiting outside just don't wait the people inside to get off to force themselves to empty seats: it looks like a battlefield.

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So, basically, just about everybody on a train at any given time is doing something that pisses somebody else off.

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People are unfriendly and never smile

I would be kind of freaked out if some random stranger smiled to me. Pray tell, do you always smile at everyone during your commute?

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@biculture It seems to me that what should freak you out and worry you is people who walk around scowling and apathetic towards others. That seems like something worth concern. If people seem more inviting in their facial expressions it makes for a much better time outside, then the "I-am-so-important-look".

Well, I am not full of myself enough to walk around with a scowl on my face. I try to walk around with a kind face and I am quick with a smile if someone makes eye contact with me. By not smiling at someone who has looked in my eyes one might think I am full of myself or "eraso"! No, I don't walk around looking for people to smile at. But I do smile if you look at me. There is nothing wrong with that at all.

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@ Ch1n4Sailor

I've not seen too many rude foreigners, (other than drunk English teachers)

In my twenty-plus-some years here the only time I have seen English teachers acting up was on two occasions. Halloween and New Years Eve (which I find insensitive as hell). Besides that I think we are a pretty good lot and not even close to the amount of rudeness or obnoxiousness that the drunk business men who act up the trains on a daily basis are. That is daily. I think the only reason it even is a blip on the radar is because we are non-Japanese.

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@TMarie, I know this will make your day, guess who got SCOLDED for listening to Bamboleo by the Gypsy Kings too loud on the Yamanote Line yesterday morning?? YES!! ME!! And in ENGLISH! I am not sure if it was really that loud or maybe is what my fake Flamenco moves??

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I hate riding the trains and try never to. People are unfriendly and never smile. It seems everyone looks like they are trying to act so important and above each other. What is wrong with smiling a little bit or at least putting on a friendly face.

I think every underground system I've been on is like that. London is awful for people looking morose and deathly, everyone sitting there in silence, trying to avoid eye contact. New York seemed a bit livelier, with more people talking to each other.

In my twenty-plus-some years here the only time I have seen English teachers acting up was on two occasions. Halloween and New Years Eve (which I find insensitive as hell).

I'd never thought about that, but yes, I don't recall seeing any foreigners behaving badly on trains in Japan, even when they're pissed. Even Halloween on the Yamanote has a few knobheads but generally it's OK I think.

The main places/situations I've seen foreigners behaving badly in Japan are Roppongi (obviously), and over expensive bar tabs at the end of long karaoke sessions.

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@ Elbuda Mexicano - OMG! OMG! OMG! You have got to be kidding me. That is utter nonsense. I don't get how people can complain about headphones on the train. The train is loud. You get off the trains, the PA system tells you all kinds of things. The shopkeepers yell at you announcing their goods at the top of their lungs. Elevators tell you nonsensical things like, "the door is opening" and so many other things, and people complain about headphone noise? this is one of the noisiest countries on the planet and headphones are not even close to being as loud as would we are slammed with on a daily basis.

Personally, I think people complain about headphones because they are bored and have nothing better to do, want to complain about something because they are bored or angry at life, can't stand that others are enjoying themselves, or if it was a Japanese person and he/she told you in ENGLISH, then they were just looking for a reason to use their English or trying to show their fellow compatriots that they had put a foreigner in his/her place!!! It has to be one of those reason because this is the noisiest place on the planet and look at how much noise the train is making. If that bothers you, then you shouldn't venture outside at all here.

When I used to ride the train I remember being between two guys listening to what I thought was most likely rock music, which I dislike, on the train going to Tokyo in the morning during rush hour. I didn't complain at all because they were enjoying themselves and it really was not that loud as to necessitate a complaint. THE TRAIN IS MUCH NOISIER!! People talking on the train is much noisier. This is a noisy country and the weak sound emitting form headphones is not that loud as to really bother anyone.

You know what else bothers me about the trains, people complaining about other people's headphones. What a bunch of nonsense. ELBUDA, next time some moron comes up to you and tells you to not play music on your headphones, why not tell them "I don't like looking your face. Can you do something about that, please? It is bothering me".

Gypsy King on, please.

What a bunch of nonsense.

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I love this entire thread! Awesome!!

Anyway, recently I've been using the courtesy seats quite frequently. ACL surgery, followed by the knowledge that I'm pregnant!

For the ACL, I purposely avoided morning rush. However, outside morning rush, the trains are still full to the point there are no open seats. It wasn't so bad when I had TWO crutches, when people would usually offer their seats.

Eventually I switched to one crutch, eventually a cane, then no cane (all the while wearing a large knee brace over my clothes).

No kind people present. Or is it that people don't want to stand out and be different?? It makes me feel sad that smart phones are more important than a living human being. And people have lost the desire to help another in need.

It's a relatively short ride for me (5 stops) on that particular train, so I would figure, my leg is feeling good, I'll just stand since there's no seat and none was offered.

After I got pregnant (and feeling sick a lot of times) I started to realized that some days I need to sit.

Some of these "robots" would actually look at my knee brace or my pregnancy charm then look away, close their eyes, or go back to using their cell phones (AND in the courtesy area too) !!

Whaaadafuu?!

I would ask the healthiest person to give up their seat for me. They would usually relent. Some more willing than others...

You have to be really specific when doing this. Like asking someone to take your photo during vacation. Or asking for directions. Single someone out, and usually that person won't refuse.

My latest tirade is usage of cell phones in the courtesy areas. There is a reason why it's a 'rule' but so many people ignore it.

I scold people in the most passive aggressive way I know how.... "Pardon me but, I would be grateful if you refrained from using your cell phone while sitting in the courtesy seats."

Less passive.... "If you would like to use your cell phone, I suggest you move away from this area..."

LOL. Hopefully, I don't get punched in the face.

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