Japanese Manners

Posted by Danny Choo On Thu 2007/09/27 17:16 JST In Japan
120 99312 ja

So we have looked at various aspects of Japanese culture revolving around the train.
[li] Perversion [/li]
[li] Suicide [/li]
[li] Rushing closing doors [/li]
[li] Sleeping What else could there possibly be?[/li]

This poster can be found at various train stations and shows a boy playing the part of a (disabled) person in need of a seat. The girl is playing the part of a person acknowledging the boy but choosing to ignore him - she is thinking "somebody else is going to get up for him (so I'm not going to be bothered to)."

While most Japanese that you encounter in public are kind and polite, I (and many other foreigners in Japan) do get quite surprised as to how inconsiderate some of the locals can be - especially when it comes to giving up seats on a train.
I've seen a pregnant mother with another baby strapped to her back, with both hands full of shopping. In front of her are 3 youngsters who *all* pretend to be asleep when they see her get on.
I've seen elderly folks struggling to stand in a crowded train while people in the seats around suddenly pretend to be asleep, stick their heads in a manga/newspaper or "check their mail" on their mobile.

This is the current situation on the trains which is so common that they need this poster to encourage people to give up their seat.
Even though I keep saying rotten stuff about London, I've never seen this type of behavior on the trains or buses in the UK. Folks in the US are good at giving up their seat too.

I don't know what it is about the Japanese and seats on a train, but whenever you talk about long commuting times, many of then will say "its so crowded that you cant get a seat." If an empty train pulls up on the platform filled with people, you will see them turn into american footballers and rush for an empty seat.
I sit in the office all day long so choose never to take a seat - even if the carriage is empty.

The Japanese do have good manners when it comes to keeping public spaces clean though. They rarely spit in the roads, rarely throw rubbish about and if their dog poops in the road, most would pick up the offensive object and pocket it. Even if the dog has diarrhea some folks would even scoop it up, rub it in their hands and wipe it in their hair.

What are the manners like of folks in your region?

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