08 Jun Trains
I have been a staff with YWAM Tokyo for the last three months. Tokyo is a very odd place. So instead of being super spiritual I have decided to write a blog post on the main source of transportation, trains, as well as a few key notes on being in the stations.
Trains: Well, a big thing for me being from a driving culture istrains. The easiest and cheapest way to get around is via train, which I quite enjoy. So after a nice walk to the station, I punch in and go down to the tracks. Everyday there is a hope in my heart that there will only be a few people in line and every day I am terribly, terribly disappointed. What appears to be the population of a small town always seems to be waiting for the same train as me. While the train pulls into the station there is a small hope that the train will be empty. It isn’t. As I board the train I am thankful that I’m tall and my face usually won’t be crushed into someone’s armpit. An odd note, while the train is one of the most efficient modes of public transportation known to man, the buses are…. not.
Actually being on the train is an entirely different experience altogether. There are more people in a single car of the train than there was in my graduating class, yet, there is no noise. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone is listening to music, reading either a book or the newspaper, looking at the ground, trying to ignore the whole thing, or just sleeping. The only people who ever seem to make any noise are either teenagers or foreigners who don’t know any better. Despite all this I actually do really enjoy riding the trains, even when a total stranger is leaning on my shoulder while napping.
I have a few notes for being in stations based on my own experiences. Move with the big crowds. I guess you could try to move against them, but in all probability it will only hurt your goal. If at all possible don’t use the station washrooms. They are usually only equipped with toilets that have been given the nickname: squat-y potties. I’m sure you can guess what kind of action is required to use them. Guys, you are the clear for the most part! If you are in or are meeting a big group, don’t all group together in the middle of a main hallway. It isn’t much harder to group by a wall and nobody will hate you for it! The measuring stick for being in this kind of setting: if you don’t see a Japanese person doing it, don’t do it!
Well this has been my three paragraphs worth of musing about trains; I hope you gleaned some entertainment from it. Maybe next time I’m writing for this website it will be about all the amazing things God is doing in Japan! Or I could leave that to the better writers and I could write about my favourite Japanese candy. We’ll see.
(Kaare Thiessen is a first-year DTS Staff, a many-things muser, muscle-bound maniac, and a mellow mango. Perhaps he is none of these things, but at least two are true.)