Stuff that happens in morning rush hour trains in Japan

goo Ranking took a look a few months ago at typical happenings in the morning rush hour train.

Number 10 may be a completely wrong translation, but as far as I can tell it is a reference to a popular manga comic, but even after reading the article on JoJo Stands I am none the wiser!

I’m lucky with my commute, as I usually start it from the beginning of the line, so I can be assured of a seat within 10 minutes of arriving at the platform. Once or twice, though, I’ve been unable to get off at my stop as the train was just far too busy to fight through from my seat to the door.

Here’s what I hate (my evening commute is often like this), people shoving in backwards:

Tōkaidō Line at Kawasaki station

Women more keen than men on men-only carriages

Macromill Research recently published a short survey on a number of aspects of train commuting, from how people spend their time to anti-groping insurance.

Recently anti-groping insurance has been in the news; along with, of course, genuine cases, there have been some cases of either women falsely accusing men for extortion, or just in a packed train a woman misunderstanding getting bumped by a briefcase or being brushed by a stray hand. When I ride in a packed train I always keep at least one hand on the hanging straps, and if space, one hand on my smartphone, or holding onto my bag strap around the shoulder area, just in case.

Here’s a typical situation on many lines around Japan, at the morning and evening rushes one carriage is reserved for women only:

Women only train sign in Nagoya

Electronic cash most popular way of paying for trains

How do you most often pay for train rides? graph of japanese statisticsiBridge Research Plus took a look at trains.


Between the 9th and 14th of September 2015 600 members of the Research Plus monitor group who used trains to commute to work or school completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sample was exactly 50:50 male and female, 13.3% in their twenties, 29.0% in their thirties, 24.3% in their forties, 27.5% in their fifties, and 5.8% in their sixties.

In Q1 I’m surprised to see mobile phones almost non-existent in the results, but I think one reason is that most season tickets these days are IC card-based, residing on either a credit card or (as in my case) on a mobile phone.

In Q9 I had most of these experiences, but probably the worst for me is drooling while sleeping…

Reasons to hate midsummer trains in Japan

Japanese trains are, overall, great, but at the height of summer one’s patience can be stretched by many a thing; this survey from goo Ranking looked at this, what people hate about packed midsummer trains.


goo Rankings asked iBRIDGE’s Research Plus to conduct this survey, where between the 15th and 21st of July 2015 500 members, 50:50 male and female, of their monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. This time everyone was aged between 20 and 39 years old.

Both other people’s sweat or just general hum from a hard day’s work bother me, and sometimes I do find my own sweating embarrassing. Number 19 is a bit of an odd one; it sounds rather Victorian to me!

Here is some pleasant sweat in a train:

pocari sweat

Typical events on the last train home after a night on the booze

Today’s slightly silly survey is from goo Ranking as usual, a look at typical occurances catching the last train home after drinking.


goo Rankings asked iBRIDGE’s Research Plus to conduct this survey, where between the 9th and 11th of December 2014 500 members, 250 male and 250 female, of their monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were given.

I’m surprised this didn’t make the rankings:

Sleepless in Yokohama

I have rarely got the last train home, so I’m not really too familiar with many of the images here, although from talking to people online, apparently vomit is a serious concern both in carriages and on station platforms. Now I think about it, since I’ve moved up to the Tokyo area, I think I’ve seen more vomit on platforms and the surrounding station area than I did in Osaka, but I don’t know if that just means that they are less efficient at cleaning it up here.

“It’s just not my day!” train happenings

goo Rankings took a look at moments on the train or the station that make people think “It’s just not my day!”.


The survey was conducted over the 3rd and 4th of March 2014, and 1,067 people completed a private web-based questionnaire. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

My event, which happens about once a month, is when someone brings on a 551 Horai carry-out and stinks out the carriage with it. Incidentally, when I was in a slightly posh cafe once, an adjacent table was asked to wrap up their 551 Horai tightly to stop the smell bothering other patrons.

I can smell them just by looking at this picture…

Sales tax increase, electronic cash and railway fares

Do you use electronic cash? graph of japanese statisticsFor their report on goo Research’s fourth regular survey into electronic money, took a look at an interesting aspect, the potential for discounted rail fares when using electronic cash.


Between the 10th and 12th of February 2014 1,078 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 58.5% of the sample were male, 0.5% in their teens, 11.6% in their twenties, 22.4% in their thirties, 32.6% in their forties, and 33.0% aged fifty or older.

With sales tax going up from 5% to 8% in April, although currently all train tickets are rounded to the nearest 10 yen, some transport operators are planning on increasing fares by exactly 3% (actually by 2.857%, but you know what I mean!) then rounded to the nearest yen, but only for electronic cash users. As most of the ticket vending machines cannot handle one and five yen coins, for cash users the tax increase will be rounded up to the nearest ten yen.

Feeling awkward on the train

goo Ranking recently took a look at what makes people feel uncomfortable on a train.


Between the 23rd and 26th of March 2011 1,070 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-base questionnaire. 53.4% of the sample were female, 10.2% in their teens, 13.1% in their twenties, 24.7% in their thirties, 23.7% in their forties, 13.3% in their fifties, and 15.0% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

I’d bet that most of my readers would feel irritated or frustrated rather than uncomfortable by someone stealing their seat, but I suppose feeling awkward is a very Japanese reaction. The two number sixes are similar, I think. Personally, I’ve been embarrassed by number two (especially if it includes drooling, snoring and sleeping on someone’s shoulder), number three, and number nine.

Japanese really don’t like any noises on trains

Do you feel bothered by people talking quietly on the phone in the train? graph of japanese statisticsI’ve previously looked at loud phone calls on the train, but this survey from goo Research and reported on by found that many were annoyed by quiet phone calls too in this survey into train manners.


Betweem the 10th and 12th of February 2010 1,080 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.7% of the sample were male, 16.3% in their teens, 18.1% in their twenties, 21.6% in their thirties, 16.0% in their forties, 15.7% in their fifties, and 12.2% aged sixty or older.

I actually find quieter phone conversations more annoying, as people seem to make less effort to cut the conversation short, but instead imagine cupping their hands over their mouth masks the noise.

If I rode with other foreigners what I really want to do is to point at the person and talk in English about how bad mannered the person is, but as I don’t I have to make do with scowling at them.