The other day Imy Facebook News Feed when I came across a video shared by a friend from back home. It showed people squeezing into a commuter train during Tokyo's rush hour, with the caption "Rush hour in Tokyo is ." Posted by U.K. student news site Unilad, the short video has 17 million views, more than 43,000 comments from all over the world.
The irony was that I was watching the video during myown extremely packed commute. I had literally just performed the Tokyo commuter's move where you the train, push your hand against the door frame to , then hold your breath until the doors close. And I was watching it on my phone — held less than an inch from my face because my arm was stuck in that position.
Before moving to Tokyo to start my new job, one of the things I was most worried about was the commute. I'd already seen photos and videos just like the one posted on Unilad, and I had read about how commuting can lead to increased stress levels, a higherand even a shortened .
In the reactions to the video, some expressed shock at just how many people were able to fit into the(I think it was the Yamanote Line), while others seemed unable to believe that this kind of thing happens daily. Many the situation, blaming either the railway for not providing enough trains or the commuters for being too to get to work on time.
"I can't stand it when peoplean already packed train. This video is like my idea of hell."
"The problem with society is everyone thinks they're sobusy. The world needs to ... doesn't that society?"
"That's not hilarious, that's just an overcrowded nation with a depressing transport system."
What do I think?, I don't actually find my commute to work stressful. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to be a sardine in that tin, sometimes even painful if you're in an , but there's this amazing sense of group gaman, I guess, a . No matter how bad it gets, nobody ever complains, or , or . People close their eyes to , quietly read their phones or books, or listen to music.
If this happened in London, people wouldand getting aggressive. Probably, they wouldn't even let others on the train.
In the end, if I have to commute somewhere, I'd rather it be a "hilarious" ride in Tokyo every day.
The Japan Times ST: January 13, 2017