Inside a train

Common cases in Tokyo

Focused thinking time:
Average commute time for people working in Tokyo area is a little over one hour, I think. My time on the commute train is 30 minutes. Nice time to have focused thinking is when the train is really crowded, but I would have enough room to open my book comfortably and read. I would read, think of something then write into the book.

Something about having lots of people around me, each thinking their own thoughts, but staying quite. Commute train in Tokyo is usally very quite for that many people to be riding it.

On the other hand, it’s no good when several people are talking near by, since it gets distracting.

Focused conversation (meeting) time:
It might be during morning or evening commute time. It might be during transit time during the day. I would be riding the train with friends or colleagues on the train, and we usually have a very good conversation. A lot of time, its about (guess!) work.

It’s got to do with people sitting or standing so close together. I wouldn’t sit right next to someone, parts of bodies touching, anywhere else but during a ride in a mass transportation! When someone is so close to you physically, mental barrier seems to break down too.

4 thoughts on “Inside a train”

  1. What interesting thoughts this week, Fujiko! You’ve made me think a lot about books and even about my time on the trains. Luckily my work in the evenings allows for relative escape from the awful crush of the early morning trains, but even then the Keio line and Inokashira line tend to be more crowded than other trains (except perhaps the Yamanote and Saikyo).

    No matter how many years I’ve lived here (22 years) I just cannot get used to or get philosophical about the packed trains. It is true that the trains are very quiet for so many people and for the most part people are quite civil, but every day I always come across at least one rude and infuriating person. It is difficult for me to look away from the daily molesters who bother the women (I’m always surprised by how many Japanese men are completely unaware of how much of this goes on right around them) or from people like the men who sit with their legs spread wide apart, refusing to budge, or the girls who insist on whining loudly into their keitai.

    Nevertheless, every time I’ve sat or stood with friends, students, or colleagues on the trains I’ve always, like you mentioned, had interesting and stimulating conversations. Very interesting observation. I’m going to think more about it as I head for the train right now.


  2. Eversince subway lines were connected at Musashi-Kosugi, Toyoko-line is not that bad, even during the peak hours. I used to commute on Keio line, and I did get molested occasionally. The atmosphere is different by lines. I dislike the rather snubbish ambience of Toyoko line before, but after commuting on this line for 9 years, I got used to it. I guess molesting goes on, but I just don’t notice it. Of course, I am older now, and I have learned how to emit ‘don’t mess with me’ air, so that could be the reason I don’t notice.


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