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Hot commute

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Passengers get off a train at a station in Tokyo on Friday. Trains have cut back on air conditioning to conserve power.

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The riding a bike to work method doesn't really work when you live an hour away (by train) from Tokyo.

On a good note though, the Tokaido line's air con was actually blowing out cool air this morning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Ihavegreatlegs

Open the damn windows. I cannot count above the thousands of times I have opened windows on trains to have someone huff and gruff and slam them shut! Disgusting cave dwellers.

I was on the bus the other day and was sitting near the back, had the window wide open, I know there were some women that really wanted me to shut it, but I'm a rather big fella and a bit intimidating, so no one dared to say anything, which was probably better, since it was so hot and I would have never paid attention, had they asked me to close it. Was too damn hot! That's why I try to get way to the back of the bus, so that I can get to that window space.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We need to look deeper at the situation.......I wonder how much technology is being/has been invested in commuter train technology? Based on the number of REALLY old trains plying the tracks - some of the JR line trains look at least 40-50 years old. The electric motors in those old beaters must be very energy inefficient. Even of the newer looking trains, I cant really recall seeing any new commuter trains in the past 10 years. Newer trains, with more efficient engines and with Regenerative brakes - Kinetic energy recovery systems ala hybrid cars - turning braking energy into storable energy would be the ticket right now. AFAIK the newer Shinkansen trains have this technology but what about the commuter trains - the constant stop start nature is very conducive to such systems. The train companies have been resting on their laurels for years and now commuters are baking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smork, I don't think the others were joking! And it is something I have heard the locals stating they would do!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes because driving to work is such an "eco" method, let alone the time, the traffic, gas.

'tis a joke, tmarie. If you don't care how you are perceived you really don't care about wasting gas!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes because driving to work is such an "eco" method, let alone the time, the traffic, gas... Again, cut out the surface "eco" crap and go for the real wasters like love hotel and pachinko lights, having the doors and windows open while using the AC....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think we need non-ganbaro carriages this summer, where people who don't enjoy suffering and don't give a toss how they are perceived can sit down and ride to and from work in comfort.

They have them! They are called a "car".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Or on another note-learn how to drive and demand better parking facilities!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yey bass4funk, all these whingers just sound like theyre from the high stuck up there alps, and arent used to sweating-sitting along with the non-working Japanese patriots making out as if they are working, or theyre so hyped and fit and ecological aware cause they bike it. If alllllll the shokunin-yes there is another word for workers besides sarariman-whinged as much as you guys you wouldnt have a fancy office or a damn train line to even talk about! If they can haul a physical day of 8hrs-eat your heart out bike riders-in this heat, while also swallowing down gob fulls of the hot air blowing out of you air conditioners, Id say you yous can eat it up and suffer some. Or why dont you really start thinking about living somewhere else, and changing your lifestyle, instead of just talking about it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I was in one of those trains. It was awful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am so lucky to be living in Fukuoka! The A/C was kickin' today and rightfully so! The trains were packed today. So far around here most places are not cutting "back as much" so I haven't suffered that much, but I never want to hatch my chickens before I count them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

bloodless, useless harpies

Lovely image! I know harpies are female, but I'm still going to shout it at the players next time I get to watch Coventry City in action. Sums them up perfectly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Paddy - that's the incredible thing. Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, you're still going to get a legion of bloodless, useless harpies convinced that they're cold when it's anything less than 28 degrees any time of the year. Any cosmetic attempt to put on even a show of saving energy is doomed to failure because as soon as the calendar says it's Autumn, these lipless crones will suddenly decree we've got power to burn making sure they never have to endure any other temperature.

Last week was the first time since last summer that my office was cooler than the outside. And still some squeaking halfwits were sitting there with cardigans on.

What is wrong with these people? Women don't seem to get much of a say in any other area of life - how come they get to decide 27 degrees is cold - WHEN IT ISN'T - and sentence the rest of the workforce to a working day of plum-sodden, reeking misery?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The place I work at would probably be more profitable if the halfwits who sit there for 14 hours a day inventing loss-making project-os to give themselves something to justify themselves with worked from home all summer. They wouldn't even have to work from home. Just stay away and set their own aircon at whatever boiling temperature they've convinced themselves isn't cold, and leave me alone. They all do nothing all day anyway except tape the ventilation ducts up and get on my sodding nerves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I`m with Himehentai et al too - I cycle most mornings, and aside from having to be trussed up like a beekeeper to protect my wussy English skin from the sun, it is not nearly as unpleasant as hitting the subway in rush hour. Yes, you get pretty sweaty, but if you are going to get sweaty on the train anyway, you may as well get some "fresh" air, exercise and killer thighs while doing the commute!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know I am a freaking genius, but let me state the obvious--let people work from home where they already have a computer and internet connection. Why travel 1 or 2 hours on train just to ultimately sit in front of a computer for 12 hours? Again, I know this idea is mind-blowing.

Maybe because most people don't have jobs where this is realistic? You need to answer phones, talk to clients, meet with coworkers, etc. I certainly couldn't do my job remotely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know I am a freaking genius, but let me state the obvious--let people work from home where they already have a computer and internet connection. Why travel 1 or 2 hours on train just to ultimately sit in front of a computer for 12 hours? Again, I know this idea is mind-blowing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

agree with daveyd and zenny. I commute to work every day, 3 days by bike (as Im only in one location for the whole day) and it takes me around 20 minutes to get the 6kms there.

The 2 days where I have to take the subway, I gotta walk to my station from my home, 5 minutes, get into the station, through the ticket barriers and onto the platform, another 3, wait for a train, another 2, get the train to destination number 1, which is approximately another 5 minutes away from me, then walk through the train station (and its a BIG station) to a different train line, which takes another 7 - 10. I then wait for and ride the next train to my destination (another 10 minutes) queue for the ticket gates and exit the station using the correct exit nearest to my company (another 5) before walking to my company (another 5.)

Its more than double the time compared to a bike ride. At least with a bike, I can go faster if Im late. With a subway I just stand there getting angrier and more frustrated, but cant do anything to make the train go faster.

Plus exercise has benefits which can not be calculated in terms of electricity saving - everyone should do more, whether or not TEPCO have messed up.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I stand corrected. Still, I don't think cutting AC on the trains is the answer to the problem.

And asking people to bike... have you biked to work recently? I bike nearly everyday and I go in about 40 mins early so I can wipe myself down because it is so freaken hot!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree with others I commute a LOT by bicycle and depending on time of day and availability of trains the time is not all that much different.

Granted need to plan your routes and so on. Major roads are crowded and will slow you down. Neither do I cycle on the pavements, 1st of all illegal here and a major slow-down on your commute.

You can get some pretty good bicycles fairly cheap now, granted most likely using parts from Korea, China but the gears will still be Shimano, etc.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A 30 minute train ride could take 5-6 hours by bike, maybe more.

What do you cycle 2km per hour or something?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ tmarie

Trains were packed more then now since there were much less lines in operation then. A lot of lines got inaugurated in the mid 70's like the Hanzomo line, Yurakucho line and or Shinjuku line. There were less through service, less rapid/express service and no A/C in those days either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should buy mountain bikes and ride to work. It saves money.

Over-idealistic narrow thinking (or lack of any thought at all) strikes the comment section once again.

Many people are re-imbursed by their company for commuting costs. A 30 minute train ride could take 5-6 hours by bike, maybe more. Sometimes spending money makes more sense than saving money, even if it is not immediately obvious why. If a significant number of people started using bikes, the streets would be increasingly packed and dangerous, and the public transport system would be in trouble. Not to mention the problem of luggage, unpredictable weather, and so on.
2 ( +4 / -2 )

@tmarie: Well, you said it, you were not around and I can assure you: public transport WAS packed. And things were a lot worse then they'll ever going to be with the air conditioning temperature set a bit higher. You apparently haven't seen any film footage of the era either. You might want to look into that. With all due respect :-)

People might indeed get sick, I have to admit, because they are not prepared for changes. They are used to under cooled conveniences in summer. They'll have to adjust.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I could find 3 others to jump in I would car pool it for the summer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Presto, you might want to look into commuting numbers now vs then. Populations in cities are growing while the inaka empties out. Trains, buses... were not packed in the 1960 (I imagine as I wasn't around) like they are today. I don't think many people would care about energy cutbacks but turning down the AC on packed trains is not the best way to go about doing so. Many other things they could do before this - people will get sick and there may be deaths due to this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I usually commute wearing a polo shirt with a dress shirt packed in my back pack and dress at office with the polo shirt hanged in my locker to dry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What's all this complaining about power cut backs? People can learn to cope. I've been here since the mid sixties. In those years buses, street cars and most trains did not have any air conditioning. They had fans. Some taxis had 'coolers' that worked if you kept the engine running at speed.

Change the way you dress, change your diet, get exercise and carry a hand fan. You may learn to like it because you will be healthier!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wish I had a camera when the Chuo Line train pulled into Yotsuya Station Friday morning. It was running late en route to Tokyo Station and was jam-packed. I was going in the opposite direction, toward Shinjuku ... thank goodness. When the doors opened the passengers just poured out ... seemingly more like staggering out. Many of the men's shirts were soaked with sweat. Everyone looked a little stunned ... or something like that. By the time my train pulled out of the platform it (the platform) was packed solid with commuters going to work, school or where-ever. Guess we in the Tokyo area will be seeing similar scenes the rest of the summer ...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bring a change of clothes or an ice pack or something for an hour commute. Mass heat stroke catastrophes are what happen when cooling either isn't available at all or breaks down on long haul trips. Air conditioners set 2 C higher than in normal years alone doesn't kill anyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope they are ready for people passing out on the trains. Where I am, they have the AC turned down and everyone is dripping by the time they get to their station. Going to be a lot of illnesses this summer! Can they turn the damn lights off at the stations too??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A little bit, Benhur?! 21 degrees is a little bit. When it hits 30, it is downright dangerous in conditions like are on these trains, or at that school sports day which left so many children with heat stroke. Im glad you are tough, but the pregnant, young, sick and elderly find it gruelling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

can't believe some people (here) complain about a little bit of heat..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Its not the heat but the unrelenting humidity which makes me feel awful. Fans do nothing to dry the air in the house. For people who like being warm in winter, no insulation in the houses, let alone central heating makes it not as comfortable as it could be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but ask someone to put up with a less-than-toasty atmosphere

As long as you're around that will never happen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hope everyone uses an under arm deodorant. Thank you.

Lol! Not likely!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The trains have always been too cold in the summer and too hot in the winter.

This is a very good point. I will bet you a pound to a penny that as soon as the mercury dips below 25, every single train will be roasting hot, with the heaters on full blast, lest some lipless bint thinks it's samui. Suddenly, after months of let's save enazi, we'll have plenty to burn.

These people are scared of being cold. We all have to pretend we're ganbarring in the summer months, but ask someone to put up with a less-than-toasty atmosphere and you may as well expect them to breathe underwater. Soft, weak, morons.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@FightingViking

What happened to all the electric fans they used to have in trains ? They don't consume that much electricity and are better than "nothing" !

Or the hand powered folded fan ?

An old fashion gadget, but very handy. Very portable. Can be snapped close or open fast. No need for electric power, only your own hand power is required. If you were to get the top of the class piece, you will only need to wave the fan to keep you cool. But if you are stingy and were to buy the cheapest one, then you will have to hold the fan rigidly in front of your face, while you move your head from left to right, and vice versa to keep cool.

Just a suggestion.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What happened to all the electric fans they used to have in trains ? They don't consume that much electricity and are better than "nothing" !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Summers in Japan are brutal. When riding the train I would count on a bit of air conditioning in order to make it through an otherwise intolerably sweaty existence. It's hot in the house because their is no central a/c. It is hot walking to the train station. It is hot waiting on the platform. A little cool air on the train is the only way to survive a trip to and from work or where ever else one needs to go. A few good points have been made here about the necessity for conserving power for people whose life literally depends on a reliable source of electricity. That said, it's going to be a nasty summer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We've got to roll with the punches guys ! I am sure this is not the first hot summers we've experienced in our life. Unless we are made of sugar and will melt in the heat, live with it. What choice have we got ? The whining and groaning will not help any, but make us feel worse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just hope they don't cut back too much. The real trouble was they never monitored the comfort of the passengers, so some froze while others boiled. Neither the trains nor the buildings are designed to be used without a/c. Designs need to change.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

>What's with the guys wearing long-sleeved shirts with the sleeves rolled up? Just wear short sleeved shirts, they're more comfortable and look neater

Good question. I was told that when the job involves meeting clients or other Important People, workers are expected to wear their suit jackets. They roll their shirt sleeves down so that the sweat on their arms soaks into their shirt cuffs instead of into the jacket sleeve, thus cutting down on dry-cleaning expenses. Then when the VIP has gone, the jacket comes off and the shirt sleeves go back up.

Much more sensible to get rid of the 'jackets for customers' rule so that people don't have to sweat so much in the first place, but.....

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

gaijintraveller and global watcher: good points

Tigerguy, thank you for your support and understanding for these disabled people in Tokyo. I am now back in the States, but my concience is very clear to speak up for these people. My heart still belong to them. I truly appreciate your comments here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What's with the guys wearing long-sleeved shirts with the sleeves rolled up? Just wear short sleeved shirts, they're more comfortable and look neater.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With the train cars with windows that don't open, they're going to have to punch some holes in them. Maybe some irate passengers will punch the holes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gonna be a long, hot summer. Many will die from heatstroke. Drink lots of water.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

gaijintraveller and global watcher: good points. Of course I'm doing my best to save power and do my bit to help out. I'm sorry about the people in the hospitals but they can blame the reckless people in power. Why do they also have to suffer? The Japanese people should understand that they supported a bad cause but did they really have a choice? The decision to go nuclear was not of the majority in Japan and if so then they will suffer and pay the price for it..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I cannot count above the thousands of times I have opened windows on trains to have someone huff and gruff and slam them shut! Disgusting cave dwellers.

I can understand people not necessarily wanting the windows open in normal circumstances- sometimes it causes a howling gale through the carriage which is more unpleasant that being a little warm in my opinion. Also the air coming in from subway tunnels is not something I particularly want to breathe, and it's really noisy in a subway with the windows open. Not so bad in aboveground trains.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I suggest wearing bikinis when you ride the train. It's insane when people get upset when you try to open a window.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People are misunderstanding "cut back". On any train I have been on recently, there is still aircon, it's just not as strong as it would normally be (which I also think is a good thing). Basically as someone said above all the cars have been turned into jakureibousha. I also often see the windows open- most carriages still seem to have a few windows open. No need to panic.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good. The trains have always been too cold in the summer and too hot in the winter.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the decision to turn them off during peak hours is utterly ridiculous! The companies have neem urged to cut back energy consumption by 15%, which would mean they only need to turn the aircon off for a few hours a day to achieve it.

They're being asked to cut 15% at peak times, not at any time of the day that it's convenient.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Open the damn windows. I cannot count above the thousands of times I have opened windows on trains to have someone huff and gruff and slam them shut! Disgusting cave dwellers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I say leave the AC on, just don't leave it on full force... as was mentioned before, a few thousand cases of HEATSTROKE isn't something you want on a packed train during the summer time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why do the people have to suffer because of a power company's lack of preparation and straight lies.

Thats a very good point.

American workers are suffering due to bank greed and oil company irresponsibility.

Europeans are suffering due to governmental greed.

Regular Japanese are being told to cut back due to corporate recklessness.

Everyday working class people dont have too much more to give I am afraid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If all commuter electric trains were to reduced speed by 10-15 percent, this would reduce electrical use substantially. The reduction in speed should be done immediately to all trains until Japan is back to normal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not many of the modern trains have windows that you can open to allow a cooling breeze inside the coach as you travel along. They were built with a/c in mind from unlimited availability of electrical power, and have those massive single panes of glass. Just like modern high-rise office buildings, though they also have security and stopping suicides in mind. Maybe JR should start running some of the pre-1980 rolling stock again...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are they actually turning "off" the aircon, or just "cutting back" (perhaps turning all the cars into jakureibousha) instead of the full gust of arctic air? Turning the aircon off is a bit extreme on a packed train... reducing energy consumption by changing the settings is understandable though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

aemit2 - I have no idea why more lights in the train cannot be turned off. Typically in one car only two of the neon lights are removed.

Allow me to explain it to you; They are not neon lights. They are florescent lights and use very little power. The removal of every second or third tube makes very little difference to energy consumption. On the other hand, airconditioners consume huge amounts of power, thus they need to be turned off. However, the decision to turn them off during peak hours is utterly ridiculous! The companies have neem urged to cut back energy consumption by 15%, which would mean they only need to turn the aircon off for a few hours a day to achieve it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No air conditioning on trains, to go to an office of 28c? There will be consequences. People are not machines.

I understand everyone needs to suffer a lot and sweat. But please think about these helpless people and conserve energy as much as you can.

This shit, is wearing thin.

Healthy people die of heatstroke.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They should buy mountain bikes and ride to work. It saves money.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have no idea why more lights in the train cannot be turned off. Typically in one car only two of the neon lights are removed. I'm sure most people would prefer a more bearable environment temperaturewise, compared to bright lighting. At least during summer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About time they turned it down. Trains have been too cold. I have been carrying a thick jacket with me so that I do not freeze.

Perhaps, it is time to try some really radical environmental measures such as opening windows to increase air flow.

Tigerguy says: "Why do the people have to suffer because of a power company's lack of preparation and straight lies."

Nuclear power started back in the '70s. The country suffered under the oil crises. The LDP pushed the rush to nuclear power to enable Japan to have a source of power not dependent on the supply of oil. The people supported the LDP and their rush into nuclear power plant construction. Many people still support the LDP. That is why the people have to suffer. They supported nuclear power, too.

Additionally, they are too willing to trust anything Japanese. "Japan is a safe country." "Japanese products are safe." These were repeated endlessly until March 11th.

Globalwatcher has a good point to make. Many hospitals do not have generators.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

wrong steps.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This should boost bicycle sales.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why do the people have to suffer because of a power company's lack of preparation and straight lies

Tigerguy, I am sorry you are upset but I am reposting the following listed below to get more support and understanding from you guys.

I have a relative with ALS living in Tokyo who is connected to a ventilater for breathing.

He has a backup generator in case of outage up to 2 hrs.

There are 19,000 people with disability living in Tokyo who are connected to breathing ventilaters. Most of them have no backup generators as they are not available in this unexpected circumstance. Do you want to see them die?

They are all on your mercy to survive.

I understand everyone needs to suffer a lot and sweat.

But please think about these helpless people and conserve energy as much as you can.

Give mercy on them, so they can survive.

Thank you for listening to me. I am speaking on behalf of these who cannot talk to you here.

1 ( +5 / -3 )

sensei ... agree. turn off the darned lights.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why do the people have to suffer because of a power company's lack of preparation and straight lies.

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I hope everyone uses an under arm deodorant. Thank you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not the AC! I can't imagine a packed, hour-long commute without the air conditioning. Lights yes, AC nooooooooo!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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