Nonstop Rain & Thoughts on Commuting


It’s been raining for the past two days, at times heavy enough to turn roads into rivers. My wife drove me to the station this morning. Want to hear my excitement for today? I looked up in the car’s owner’s manual how to adjust the dashboard clock. It’s no longer running eight minutes fast, causing me to drive like a maniac at times from thinking I was late.

Notice in the photo that the platform isn’t so crowded that white gloved conductors have to cram commuters into cars. That’s the only scene you tend to see in video clips, but in reality it’s not the norm. That only happens when the trains are delayed during rush hour due to an accident, which isn’t very often. Trains do get crowded closer to Tokyo, but in normal circumstances not painfully so, unless you’re crushed against someone with demoniacally bad breath.

It’s also been said that Japanese people often are reluctant to sit next to foreigners on trains. Honestly, I can’t remember that ever happening to me, probably because like everyone else I don’t take a special interest in the people around me. Tourists have a way of looking around that makes Japanese uneasy, as if you might talk to them or ask them a question in English. To be honest, I avoid those types too. You just never know if they’re going to be crazy, smelly, embarrassing or annoying.

Rich Pav

Richard has been living in Japan since 1990 with his wife and two teenage sons, Tony and Andy.

7 thoughts to “Nonstop Rain & Thoughts on Commuting”

  1. Most people get confused by the train systems, but hello tourists don’t know anything. I’ll be the first to admit that if I go anywhere… I have no sense of direction.

    P.S. Hello, I know your father

  2. I seemed to have missed most the rain until the second day; it started poring when I was walking from my station to my apartment. Instead of fumbling through my bag for my casa I just ran the last 3 minutes, I got soaked.
    I’ve also never had a problem with people sitting next to me, maybe I’m not very scary.
    I have noticed sometimes that people will check you out before they sit down though but they do this to everyone not just me, I’ve always wondered what their thinking.

  3. @Rich: The further away from Tokyo you go, the more apprehensive/curious commuters are of foreigners. Here in the big city, we I think pretty much blend in with the rest of the scenery.

    But tell me the truth: if you get on a train and you see a foreigner, do you purposely sit far away from them? I do. Unless she’s a babe. Especially a tall one. In which case I suck in my gut.

  4. I’m the grandaughter of his life-long friend Camille xD

    Same name, same… house. xD;

    I take after her more than I should sometimes, she complains that it’s not the cleaning bit I take after though.

    I act a bit too childish to be a 67 year-old woman 😛 But it’s close!

    Nice to meet you also!

  5. Rich、you got me there.
    I usually do try to get away when I see another foreigner, I’ll even skip to the next car if I see one waiting at the platform.
    Its not that I have anything against other foreigners, its just if they happen to do something embarrassing/stupid/rude I will automatically get lumped.
    One time I was waiting for the train while quietly reading my book, the train came and I stepped on board and immediately noticed everyone and I mean Everyone, even the 6 month old baby was staring in my direction.
    Of course this struck my as rather strange sense besides my rather un-uniqueness there is nothing worth staring at about me, so after a quick check of my fly I checked my reflection in the mirror and that’s when I saw it.
    There was nothing wrong with my face but there was something very large and wearing a pink French maid costume standing behind, after I turned to take a better look the giant to my horror started talking to me as if I was her bother/lover/pet in broken Norwegian English and booming voice she tried to explain that she has a “thing” for crossplay and she was going to a party and invited me to come.
    I politely declined of course and sprinted for the door at the next stop.

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