#2783

Etiquette on the train/ subway and public places...

.. but this is becoming the "lost art" even among Japanese....

As you may know, Japan is the country of courtesy and helping each other as well as trying not to bother others. Well, used to be, at least. These days, I find that it is becoming the "lost art", sadly. Nonetheless, I would like foreign tourists and visitors to know and understand Japanese way to treat others.....

1. "Silver Seat" or "Priority Seat" on the train/ subway/ bus
Depending on the line or operating company, those seats are located at the different places of the train - some have only in the first and last cars, some have in all cars, and a few declare all seats are "priority seat". The concept is, you are kindly requested to give up the seat for the elderly passengers, sick or injured person, expectant mothers, etc..... Surely you are not required, but it rather relies on your common sense or common courtesy. The view I remember before I left Japan was that those seats always had empty seat even if the train is relatively crowded and many were standing. This is because people thought that it is better to keep standing and show those who need them that they are open, than to sit there and have them look asking for them. Nice, isn't it? But unfortunately, these days, thanks to the spread of smartphone, that is not the case, especially those who cannot take their eyes off their smartphones. They just don't or can't see around. I give you advice because I want you to know and act like the good old Japanese....

2. No talk on the phone in the public places (transportation, restaurants, cafe, etc.)
This is still relatively well observed here. After all, text message was invented because of this "no phone talk on the train" etiquette started. It IS annoying to hear other people's talk on the phone. When I was in New York, nobody cared where to talk on the phone and in fact nobody seemed bothered by it. I find it a big difference between US and Japan. Anyway, I advise this here because I see lots of foreigners talk on the phone on subway these days. As I said, Japanese tend to rely on others' common sense and don't often tell people NOT to do certain things. So, don't do what Japanese don't do....

3. Look at the subway/ train seats...
Well, while we are talking about train and subways, I also want to add an appendix. Look at the long seat on the train or subway. Now it is divided by color pattern or sometimes by cushioning, so that it could accommodate certain designated number of passengers (mostly 7?). People try to let as many people as designed sit by tightening their legs and such, unless s/he is in deep coma :-)

That's it for today. Sorry if these sounded to restrictive and "too harsh" rule, but the point it there are certain rules which Japanese are expected to follow and I just want you to follow that in order to enjoy more. If Japanese see you try to observe those small rules, they will be more than happy to help you. Like I said, this is the country of helping each other. Enjoy!

by KIH

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