Another day at the intricate subway system of Japan, people were cramming against each other like sardines and some were taking the opportunities to satisfy their carnal desires but most of them were rushing to work or school. This is how Japan flows. I was still very new to the modus operandi as I just moved here a few months ago. The train lines were still a labyrinth to me.
Time was not on my side, the footsteps were ramping up as my head was making decisions as to where to board. I was being pushed along with the flow of the crowd, I w bumped into a several times without hearing a spark of decency, some were definitely intentional. Alas, I had reached my limitations in problem-solving, I had to result to technology again, Google. Everything became as clear as daylight.
I followed the Shinjuku line and waited along the people around me, they were either on their phones or their books, rarely people looked around and skimmed their surroundings, or else if they wanted to do so, they would read between the lines. The train arrived on time as expected. The passengers who wanted to alight the train went out first, only then we would board the train accordingly, with force required at times.
The throng squeezed me into the mid section of the unit and standing beside me was a frail old lady with barely strength to stand firmly, a typical Japanese office-working lad holding a book, crunching in the knowledge required and seated in front of me were another set of normalcy of Japan- dozing off, replying to text messages, indulging in mind-numbing games, and watching anime. The atmosphere was the usual packed with anxiety and bottled up with the intelligible two-faced life that most of the people here lived. Who knows the guy behind me would ‘body slam’ me like the previous time? It was so packed inside here that breathing had become a voluntary action.
The train was off to a rocky start, nothing off, probably the train had too many passengers on-board. “Next stop…” The robotic Japanese female voice echoed in the bustle of the train speeding across the sound of the wind. I stared at my phone to check which station to get off and to know whether I am going to be late or not. Reflecting from my phone screen, I noticed the old lady beside me was getting weaker by the second as if she was suffering from asphyxia or fatigue. Poor lady… No one was willing to let her a space to sit, even though seated right in front of her was a healthy young chap ready to own his day. I was absolutely disgusted by the culture that they had in the train, how hard can it be to let someone in need to sit down? What’s the logic behind this…
Screech! The train came to an abrupt halt as another train zipped by. No one supported no one, everybody minded their own safety. Fortunately, the old lady got a grip on her own balance. “What happened?” I asked in Japanese out of insecurity.
“Just another suicide case,” the old lady was kind enough to answer me, nonchalantly, “the driver might have just jumped onto the opposite rail.” I nodded in understanding and still taking in the fact that this is normal in Japan although this was my first time experiencing this. Everyone around me seemed unperturbed, not bothered at all, as if nothing had happened.
“this is normal.” the old lady resumed and gave a pat of assurance at my back. I did not know what or how to feel. “just let it play out and we will have places to head to in a few minutes.” Indeed, the situation was sorted out after the flurry of the police officers.
It was just a normal day in Japan. I got to my school just in time without needing to get a late-ticket from the train station. This is normal. I convinced myself and let everyday played themselves out. This is normal.
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A Loss In Time, Taken For Granted
Nine Hours Apart…
Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry by Jeffrey Lieberman & Ogi Ogas (Book Review)
time is short.
the dilemma of social media
“Let There Be Light.”