Living in Japan has been an amazing experience, from the sprawling landscapes to the densely populated cities in Tokyo. You have not experienced public transportation until you are packed as tightly as sardines on the 7pm train departing Shinjuku and the train stewards are having to push people into the train to get the doors to close.
While I have been to Los Angeles and Indianapolis they pale in comparison to Tokyo, and it left me wondering how they make it work? The cities are clean, which is surprising considering they are housing millions of people, the trains run on time every single day, and if they aren’t on time by even a minute they will profusely apologize and send out qr codes to take to your company to excuse your tardiness. It seems impossible for the system to work so perfectly for millions of people to ride these trains every single day and yet, they are clean, quiet, and efficient. The Japanese people know not only how to respect each other, but how to respect the shared spaces that everyone uses.
It was surprising to me how much they respected these spaces, in America every window would have some sort of design etched into it, the train would be loud and probably have smell like fast food. But in Japan, not a single person is talking on the phone, if anyone is talking on the train in general it is in a hushed tone. If one is sick they are wearing a mask and standing at the very back of the train car, or before they even go on the train they take a special medicine that sits in the throat and numbs symptoms. No one is eating on the train, or even drinking on the train to avoid making anyone else’s commute inconvenient. To an America, this sort of respect for not only one another but for the commonly shared spaces is unfathomable, its beautiful in its entirety.
It is something that I feel as though people need to learn in the west, while we pride ourselves on our individualism and freedom, we can still be respectful not just to one another, but to the commonly shared spaces that we use everyday. It’s this level of respect and kindness that the everyday people in Japan outwardly show that has had the greatest impact on the way I view not only myself but the people around me. I understand that this kindness is almost forced upon them by the social stigmas in their society, and that has its own problems. Which I might write about in the future, but currently that kindness makes getting around Japan a delight.
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you will continue to read my blog posts as I continue to study in Japan. I hope you all have an amazing day.
P.S It’s rude to take pictures of the groups on the train so here are some city skyline pictures from Tokyo radio tower and the Yokohama Landmark Tower.