Traveling without moving – Toyko trains

Tokyo. Trains. Rush hour. Right on my first morning in town I had this very special pleassure. My backpack was with me. I entered the train around 7:30. It was already full, when it arrived. Well, in my sense it was full. For Tokyo it might have been most spaciously train in the world. And we just started to stuff people into it!

People in Tokyo have a certain style to enter full trains. They go backwards and press themselve into whatever is in there. Same principle like pogo dancing. You always jump into the Mosh-Pit with your back first, so that you won’t get any ellbows or other things into your face. Or at least not that easy. And to bring this to perfection, there are also law enforcement forces on the outside, who press people in, if the can’t make it and the doors start to close.

If you have claustrophobia, rush hour in Tokyo might not be the best idea for you. Maybe to overcome you fear. But you are packe like sardines in a can, that was recently overrun by a truck, stucked to the tire while entering the onramp and acclerating towards the highway. I mean, I somehow liked that. But I am a touchy guy anyway. You totally loose control over your body. It was a strange experience. This compressed mass moves collective. You seem like standing on your place, but then suddenly you stand at another place, without even moving or doing anything.

As we are in Japan, this even felt comfortable, like everything in Japan. Even the rush hour madness underlies a certain politeness. It is not as if another asshole presses himself in the already overflowing train, when new people enter. Your are anyway so tight, that you can not move at all. All people merge to a single clump of body mass.

For me this was quite a funny experience. But to do that every morning can be very exhausting. Another story of this crowd is, that some gentleman use this circumstance to feel up on the woman around them. And they often don’t know, where this hand comes from, as there are so many people so tight around then. My japanese female friends told me, that every girl has made that experience in the Tokyo trains at least once. This is very awkward and not nice at all. For that reason the first tow wagons are usually for woman only during the rush hour. Makes absolutely sense in my eyes.

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