Tokyo Metro

Oops, one of the Olympic rings failed to open properly, didn’t it?! The malfunctioned ring looked like a trademark of BP. I sincerely hope no one will be sent to Siberia because of this hiccup…

Our Shinkansen drew into the platform around 2pm. The afternoon sun was pouring over the busy platform and the scenery was a world away from sub-zero Nagano where we embarked merely 2 hours ago. Tokyo Station, being reputed as the busiest station in Japan – in terms of number of trains per day (over 3,000), the inside of the huge station was as busy as a bee-hive. Pedestrians and passengers were flooding into the inter-connecting concourses from all directions, resembling multiple whirlpools, constantly swaying & merging. After negotiating a few ramps and steps, mum & I managed to surface from the subterranean maze eventually, and took a cab to our hotel. Once storing our luggage at the hotel, we headed to Jinbōchō (神保町) by metro.

A row of barrier was installed along both edges of the platform…


The barriers were there to stop drunken salary-men from falling onto the track and also to work as a visual deterrent to suicide attempts – sadly, suicide in Japan had been a significant national social-issue. As the recession worsened during the 1990’s and the number of redundancy sky-rocketed amongst the Japanese company workers, the rate of suicide increased sharply. And unfortunately, railroad tracks had been one of the hotspots for suicide…
I watched on the Japanese TV once how similar barriers were installed at Daikanyama Station. Once the station is closed after midnight, a group of installers were gathered on the platform. Then, a not-in-service train drew into the platform, delivering the barrier parts. The awaiting workers pulled out the parts from each carriage and started assembling them like a piece of IKEA furniture. Half of the installers were electricians, so they wired the barriers as their colleagues in charge of erecting the barriers bolting them to the platform. The procedure was done in typical Japanese efficiency, and in less than half an hour, all the barriers were in place and fully operational from next morning. Then, the discarded packaging was loaded onto the awaiting train and taken away, leaving the platform spotless.

Inside of the metro car…


When Hubbie saw a Nakazuri (中吊り) – an advert hung from the ceiling, for the first time, he thought it was a nightmare for graphic designers. Especially, the kind for Japanese weekly magazines was, according to him, the worst of all. Provocative and dubious headlines were screaming & jockeying for every available paper space, disregarding any aesthetic concern. He grimaced every time we encountered one of those in the metro.
At least for “Gulliver” like me, those messy & ugly ads were a useful source of information since those gossipy rants would tell pretty much everything about what was going on in Japan…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

23 thoughts on “Tokyo Metro

  1. I know what your husband meant about Japanese ads. Being a non- native, I always find it really hard for my eyes to focus and pick out important info from a page in a magazine. So, I always end up just looking at beautiful photos of what’s in fashion in Japan. Defeats the whole point of learning Japanese, eh? :p

    • I do like looking at Nakazuri ads because the headlines are so gossipy. And the amount of text they cram it into is in some way, a work of art. My dad used to say, he wouldn’t buy magazines because reading Nakazuri was enough…😓

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  3. Wow, that’s super efficiency! I think I would enjoy riding the trains sine I like looking at stuff while commuting. The only thing I have to learn is Nihongo. Hehehe.

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