Before I moved to Tokyo, I used to laugh incredibly at the scene on TV of people being pushed into the commuter train. But now it's not funny anymore when I am one of them.
Of course there are alternatives, for instance, you can drive. But even if you can afford everyday parking here, which costs about half of your rent, it's just impractical to drive sometimes. Struggling through traffic jam to find somewhere to park is definitely not my idea of fun.
So unfortunately most of us are stuck with trains. I don't really mind as long as I can avoid the rush hours. People-watching is one of my favorite sports anyway.
But I was horrified when I first saw girls here doing their make-up on the train. But now, well I have long given up my principle and joined them, although I still insist on lipstick and powder only. No eyelash curler or mascara on the train!
Once a middle-aged man sitting next to me suddenly asked me to give my seat to an old lady who I hadn't noticed. She just got on the train when I was busy observing someone else. So I immediately stood up in shame and gave my seat to her. But till this day I still wonder what had prevented him from giving his own precious seat away, his age, his gender, or both??
Most Japanese are engrossed in their own world when they are on the train, from iPod, Nintendo, mobiles, to magazines with pics of naked girls, here being Toyo, the electronic Mecca and sex Disneyland.
But some people simply sleep on the train. You can’t imagine how exhausted and dead they look. Sometimes I even wonder if I should call an ambulance.
And me, hmmm, I am usually the only one on the train doing nothing else but watching the others, which suits me just fine!