At home in a train

How to make yourself comfortable on a Tokyo commuter train:

Spread your shopping bags.

Call your friend.

Have a snack. Eat as loudly as possible.

Share the snack with your dog while you scatter crumbs everywhere.

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Cute groping?

This is the latest anti-chikan (groper) poster at a train station. I was going to grumble about Japan’s tendency to cutify everything, but then I hesitated: is this poster cute or is it simply a graphic depiction? I’ve been here so long that my “inappropriate cuteness radar” has been corrupted.

PS: That little critter thingy with the blue hat is Pipo-kun, the police mascot.


Take off that backpack!

You. You with the backpack. If you want to travel on a crowded rush-hour commuter train, take the damn thing off before you get on; and if you stand in the passage in the middle of the carriage, blocking it for everybody who has to pass, do NOT … I repeat DO NOT! … give me a dirty look when I knock your backpack sideways as I brush past.

Why are you wearing a backpack with a business suit anyway? Please note that backpacks are only acceptable in the following situations:

1) You spend half your life in Akihabara, most of it at the AKB48 theater.

2) You commute by motorbike. (So what are you doing in the train, then?)

3) You’re a hiker or photographer.

4) You’re a dumb tourist.

Of the above, only (2) and (3) can be readily admitted in semi-polite conversation, and even (2) is suspect.

If you’re a salaryman, get a briefcase already.