Sleeping on the train in Japan. Why is it such a popular/normal/acceptable thing to do?
Everybody sleeps on trains in Japan. Old people, young people, business people, students. It seems to be something that is conditioned into them, that when you get a seat on the train, it’s sleepy time. Time to catch up on some zzzs. Time for a cat nap. Or time to sleep off a bit of the booze before getting home. And why not? The train is ridiculously silent (talking on phones is strictly not allowed), the seats are cushioned AND heated in the winter (warm butt = sleepy time), and chances are they may have a good hour or more before arriving at their destination. In fact, every time I go out, I budget at least an hour to get there by train. And I live in the middle of the city!
As I might have hinted before, Tokyo is a f***ing massive city. I don’t know any other way to say it. It’s mind bogglingly big and it takes forever to get around. For example, going from the west side of Tokyo to the east side of Tokyo — and to still be within city lines — can take up to three hours on the train. Three hours! Just to cross the city! You could drive all the way across Trinidad in three hours!
But I’m not sure which is worse… millions of hours spent on a train, or millions of hours spent in traffic? Every year the traffic in Trinidad seems to get worse and worse. And ironically enough, in Trinidad, the reason why there is such a ridiculous, never ending traffic crisis is because of ‘roll-on roll-off’ second hand cars imported from Japan by the hundreds of thousands. Personally, I would choose the train over traffic, and I guess in a way I have. I haven’t driven a car (or owned a car) since I left Trinidad some five years ago. You simply don’t need a car in these big Asian cities because public transport is amazing.
Tokyo has the population of Canada, over 30 million inhabitants, and obviously no one wants 30 million cars on the road. So they have gone to great lengths to make sure you are always close to a bus stop, and that the buses go to all the train stations, and in general it works. Except for when you barely manage to get the last train home, and the damn bus stops at midnight and you have to walk home drunk, but that’s another story. And I have to admit, walking to and from the stations, and running for trains, and climbing up millions of steps, is great exercise.
Here are the other things that Japanese people like to do on trains, other than sleep:
1. send text messages (no talking allowed on trains)
2. apply make-up, especially eyelash curlers, for some reason
4. vomit (Friday nights, especially)
5. look at porn
Really, lots of people read porn. See?
Aren’t trains in Japan great?