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Image: Pakutaso

Japan’s most annoying train habits: Passengers reveal the things that irk them most

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

The Japan Private Railway Association has published its 2021 “Ranking of Annoying Acts in Stations and Trains," using responses to a questionnaire on their website submitted by 2,006 people from October to November this year.

The questionnaire on manners in stations and trains revealed the top 10 things that annoy commuters the most, with the 10-5 ranking being:

10. Eating and drinking in crowded carriages 11.6% (up from 14th place last year)

9. Sound leaking from headphones 16.3% (down from 8th place last year)

8. Riding in a drunken state 16.9% (up from 9th place last year)

7. Leaving garbage behind, like empty cans, etc. 18.3% (same as last year)

6. The way people hold/place their luggage 19.0% (same as last year)

5. Smartphone use (walking with smartphones, using them in congested areas, etc.) 21.0% (same as last year)

The above results show the same things that annoyed people last year have been continuing to aggravate them in 2021, with not a lot of change in the rankings, aside from eating and drinking in crowded carriages, which rose from 14th place to earn a mention in the top 10 this year.

Smartphones, litter, and baggage woes held the same positions on the list as last year, reinforcing the need for signs like this one below, which asks passengers to take bulky bags off their back and hold them or place them in the overhead rack.

Image: Pakutaso

So let’s take a look at the top five habits that annoy commuters in Japan.

4. Coughing and sneezing with no consideration for surroundings 27.2% (same as last year)

3. Manners when boarding and alighting (obstructing the door, etc.) 29.8% (same as last year)

2. The way people sit in their seat (squeezing in, leg-spreading, sleeping on others, etc.) 37.4% (down from 1 last year)

1. Noisy conversation/being a nuisance 39.1% (up from 2 last year)

So there you have it — the thing that irks passengers the most in Japan is noisy conversation and being a general nuisance to others. While loud talking on board trains has always been a bugbear in Japan, it’s become even more of a taboo during the pandemic, nudging it into the number one spot as restrictions ease but fears surrounding droplet transmission remain high.

So next time you board a train in Japan, or move through one of its famously busy stations, be sure to mind your manners and avoid annoying others with the points mentioned in the top ten. And if you’re a woman who needs to apply makeup while on the train – happy days! It didn’t make the list this year like it did back in 2018, when they even made an ad about it.

Source: Japan Private Railway Association via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese train company slammed for ad branding women “undignified” for applying makeup on board

-- Survey shows most Japanese employees don’t like Western-style work socials

-- Japanese train driver falls asleep while operating train

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Passengers reveal the things that irk them most

A picture tells a thousand words but maybe not enough. Many would say that the source of a lot of irksome behaviors are the middle aged and middle management position all-season suit-wearers like in the picture. Their sense of entitlement and privilege, yet accumulated resentments, are a rich source of problems on public transport.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

nCov is transmitted by stable aerosol, not droplets that fall to the ground rapidly.

But talking produces both.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

if you live in Osaka , you witness these train habits on a daily basis

3 ( +9 / -6 )

No. 3 is the one that really bugs me. People standing in front of the doors as others try to exit, or people boarding the train and stopping just inside the doors as if there is nobody behind them. I get similarly annoyed when people stop at the top of escalators.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I thought the main thing people complained about was backpacks.


Some of the complaints were on train lines that pass airports, so some of it could be blamed on the train companies for not providing luggage space. With no tourists coming in, there'll be less of it this year.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The absolute lack of dedicated space for wheelchairs and prams on a lot of trains results in clogging up the boarding area. Like what idiot designed the interior?

The pushing and shoving to get on and off the train is maddening as well, not to mention unsafe. People here lose all sense of manners and decorum when they use the trains.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The best way to have a safe and fun filled ride on your train ride is to just mind your own business and stop looking at everyone on the train.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

All the reasons I do whatever I can to not take trains or subways.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'm surprised no one mentioned pushing and shoving to be the first in, the first out, or when competing to get a seat.

Or what about those passive aggressive people who poke their elbow in your side if they feel like you are too close to them?

Or the number one biggest problem of them all: chikan. Every woman I know has a chikan story.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Watching porn on smartphones is missing. ;)

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Passive aggressive train riders definitely take the cake. Poking their elbows too close, taking up more space than they need to (I once saw a guy spread his legs two feet apart while standing in a packed train), racing to get seats as if it was the last thing on their bucket list, etc.

One personal gripe that I haven't really seen mentioned before in English or Japanese are people who reek of something strong: alcohol, cigarettes, unwashed hair, both women and men who put on way too much perfume/cologne, or people who reek of make up.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Never understood why some people have a gripe on the "people drinking on the train" part. I can understand the eating part, but come on, some of us have to ride the damn train for over an hour and we get thirsty so we need to drink water. I also get motion sickness when the train constantly moves side to side and I need a little sip of water afterwards to calm me down.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I work in sales, therefore I use the train a lot, several times per day.

The thing I hate the most and sadly I see more that I would like to, is the lack of empathy to older people and, this makes my blood boil, pregnant women.

No manners and no empathy at all..... Shame to those evildoers.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Staring/Checking the outfit

Trying to record people as if like they're just doing their work on phone.

stinky dirty workers smell of cigarettes

showing ugly feet

Burping loud (esp in the West), just gross.
-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Burping loud (esp in the West), just gross.

I've never heard that on the west at all

6 ( +8 / -2 )

*to just mind your own business and stop looking at everyone on the train.*

you mustn’t ride the train very much.

Everyone is looking at their phones, so no one is looking at anyone

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Nose-mask / no-mask (really no difference).

Or the guys that get on the train and pull their masks below their chin.

The worsts are the ones that pull down their masks to make a phone call while in the train.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

the thing that irks me most is JR's endless endless messages telling everyone not to use their phones and so on and the absolutely awful music played when doors are about to close.

I can tolerate people falling asleep against me even though it is annoying. I think most of us have done it when tired from a hard day's work. I can tolerate people on the phone when they speak quietly and hold a hand over their mouth so as not to disturb others since they are showing consideration.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Number #9 This is why I always take the car, about 10 years ago some elderly woman barked at me because the sound from my earphones was bothering her and after that, I never rode a train to work again. I love listening to music, I don't think my music is that loud, but if people have a problem with a little noise then I have to say, I won't argue with these people or try and change them, I will get my own car and then really blast my music in peace without someone scolding me like a child

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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