Have you ever been shoved so fiercely into a train that for a good second or two, you’re lifted off the ground and you’re being held up by the surrounding passengers?
I sincerely hope you haven’t.
Ever since I arrived in Japan, I have been actively avoiding rush hour. The sight of white gloves makes me shudder.
Why are white gloves so terrifying you may ask?
Well, during rush hour in Japan, there are train staff standing on the platform. Once the train arrives, they stand near the doors and patiently wait for people to file into the train. What never ceases to amaze me is how many people attempt to shove their way into the train. Even though they know they won’t fit, people still try to squeeze their way in. When someone doesn’t fit, that is when the white gloves come on. The staff members standing near the door will slip on their gloves and begin to push the people standing at the doors. People are packed like sardines during rush hour.
To show you how it is actually like, here’s a video from Youtube:
That said, rush hour in Japan is terrible. I wish I was able to avoid it for the whole year, but it was deemed impossible after my classes started.
My classes start at 9 A.M. sharp and end around 6 P.M. That means I have to face both rush hours almost everyday of the week. I thought about going to school earlier to try to avoid the whole ordeal, but it turns out that the school gates don’t open until 8 A.M.
Therefore, I had to deal with this whole process every time I went to class.
It went like this:
- Wait behind a ton of people.
- Train arrives.
- Get squished inside the train and possibly suffocate because of how many people got into the train.
It is an incredibly tiring process to go through–I’m genuinely impressed by how Japanese people seemed to be unfazed by it.
In all honesty, I would much rather sit through the horrible traffic back in California because at least then, I’d still have the space to breathe. Even so, I’m thoroughly impressed with the Japanese transport system. Despite the huge number of people that board the train everyday, it’s clean, organized, and efficient. Everyday without fail, these packed trains bring people to their destinations.
Besides the rush hour horror, Japan’s transportation system is admirable.
One day, I hope the same kind of transportation system will be made available in the Bay Area.