Numerous train etiquette guidelines exist in Japan, and though most people follow them religiously, even the most polite of passengers can unintentionally make their fellow commuters feel uncomfortable. But what actions, exactly, would earn you an eye-roll or a shake of the head?
The Japan Private Railway Association recently gathered information from 72 railway companies and 2,686 respondents to compile an annual list of inconsiderate behavior committed at stations or in trains that exasperate Japanese passengers. Let us go through the top ten offences starting from the least to the most aggravating.
10. Eating food in crowded trains (10 percent)
In a country that prioritizes quietness when riding trains, not only will incessant chewing noises upset the heck out of people, the smell from food would, too.
9. Leaving trash or empty cans lying around (14.2 percent)
Having rubbish like slippery plastic bags or food packaging around in busy stations can be potentially hazardous, particularly during peak hours when people rush to catch their next train.
8. Putting on makeup in trains (15.1 percent)
Cosmetic products may stain commuters’ clothes, not to mention subjecting passengers to watching you perform personal grooming in front of them.
7. Riding the train drunk (15.4 percent)
Drinking is an integral part of Japanese culture, but stepping into train cars feeling buzzed and potentially inconveniencing others is not.
6. Walking while using smartphones (21.5 percent)
Fiddling with smartphones while on the move may be really convenient, but getting distracted to the point of becoming a walking disaster makes this behavior one of the most dangerous and inconsiderate in people’s eyes.
5. Playing music loud enough for others to hear through headphones (23.2 percent)
Any activity disrupting silence in trains is generally frowned upon. You might just be annoying the person next to you who is trying to read a book.
4. Rude train boarding and disembarking behavior (34.3 percent)
Refusing to give way when the doors slide open is just downright inconsiderate.
3. Inappropriate seating behavior (34.5 percent)
Spreading legs wide apart to take up more room than needed, otherwise known as manspreading, is certainly very frustrating to deal with.
2. Talking in loud voices (36.9 percent)
Whether on the phone or with friends and acquaintances, this ties in with previous points where silence is golden.
1. Bag placement etiquette (37.3 percent)
Making the top spot of inconsiderate train behaviors is the way bags are held or placed by passengers in crowded trains. Specifically, 66.2 percent of respondents indicated that rucksacks carried on the back or shoulder bags slung at the side inconvenienced them, while 9 percent did not like passengers putting their belongings on seats. Another 8.3 percent even found bags placed on the floor of train cars frustrating.
What is perhaps most surprising is that bag placement slowly crept up from 12th place in 2009 to third in 2017, and is now first place this year. Some Japanese netizens were surprised by the response to bag etiquette, while others were not:
“What!? That’s me! What’s wrong with that?”
“I’m not even bothered by it. Perfume, stinky cosmetics, and heavy-smelling shampoo are the biggest offenders for me.”
“Get rid of those rucksacks, seriously.”
“What about those who pretend to sleep to avoid giving up seats?”
What are inconsiderate behavior tat annoy you most? It seems the golden rules in Japan are to stay quiet, not take up excessive space, and to be considerate to fellow commuters. And to remember to watch where you’re standing, too.
Source: Japan Private Railway Association via Livedoor News, My Game News Flash
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