Could the way we behave on the train reveal our true personality?

Could the way we behave on the train reveal our true personality? Image: japandora.com

TOKYO —

Just spending a few minutes on the train, it is possible to gain quite an insight into the type of people who use public transport; whether it be the guy crashed out after a heavy night of drinking with his pals, the student listening to his music player on full blast, or the person completely immersed in their favorite book, the types of behavior are varied to say the least.

The inside of the train carriage is a rather peculiar environment in that, on the one hand, it is a public space in which one must abide at least to some degree by the rules of proper public conduct. However, it also provides us with our own private space in which to shut off everything around us and relax while traveling.

By observing the way in which people spend their time on the train, however, we can learn a lot about an individual’s personality, claims Tsugumi Tachibana, a Japanese counselor in love relations. From a romance perspective, Tachibana analyzes in-depth the correlation between public behavior and personality traits. Her findings can be found below and might just help us learn a little more about that one special person on the train or bus that you’ve been admiring from afar.

First there’s the person who crashes out on the train:

“This type of person assumes a rather laid back attitude in the presence of others. They care little for the finer details of things and have a rather sketchy and candid personality. When their partner changes something in their appearance- for example their hairstyle- they are often completely indifferent. On the one hand, this type of character doesn’t concern themselves too much with urgency and delays replying to mails. From this perspective, there is little concern of being told what to do or shackled down within a relationship. They also have a positive attitude, and their calm and collected manner means that they are seen as someone who can be relied upon in times of trouble or crisis.”

The “in a world of their own” type who’s always plugged in to their music:

“This type of person is quite often oblivious to the world around them, has a striking sense of naivety and a tendency to shy away from others. This being said, they are actually rather lonely and yearn for human contact. For anyone looking to develop a romantic relationship with this type of person, it is recommended to socialize with them not as a couple, but as a larger group. They will initially put up a barrier but once you’ve established a connection, it should be possible to create a very close relationship.”

Next are those seen working or studying during transit:

“In some cases, this type of person is genuinely driven by a passion to study or work. However most of the time, they often show the signs of being at one’s wits’ end with it all. What can be deduced from this is that they have little or no planning ability and act rather on the spur of the moment. They are fun to be around but are often driven by the feelings of the moment. Consequently, they have a tendency to treat relationships with the opposite sex rather lightly and anything they say should be taking with a pinch of salt.”

The hardcore hobbyists:

“Someone who can completely immerse themselves in a book or a video game on the train is the type of person who is unperturbed by their surroundings and can be seen as ‘truly an individual of freedom’. Not wanting to waste time, they utilize their train journey as effectively as possible. However, they are usually lacking in planning skills and often arrive late for important engagements, or make spontaneous purchases without thinking. In some respects, they are emotionally immature but should be praised for their sincerity; what’s more, they don’t normally have any hidden agendas. Anyone dating this type of person would arguably hold the reins in the relationship.”

Passengers who are incessantly texting on their phone:

“Constantly seeking some form of a connection with those around them, this type of person is easily influenced by others and is a follower of fashion trends. They behave in a way that exaggerates their actual financial or social status by treating their partner to an extravagant dinner or bluffing about one thing or another. They have a strong sense of vigilance and therefore it means putting in a considerable amount of work before they open themselves up to you. However, by replying to their mails promptly and showing them appreciation will provide them with a sense of security. This will in turn increase the strength of the relationship.”

Finally, there’s always the person who just loves to observe other passengers:

“This category of person tentatively watches those around them and before long gets lost in wild imagination and speculation. This is a person with a violent tendency towards subjective impressions. However, they are also often romanticists. They believe that through careful planning they can anticipate any future happenings. For this reason, they find it difficult to adapt to sudden unforeseen events. They have strong illusions when it comes to the opposite sex and can’t bear to hear stories about one’s ex or intimate goings on within a relationship. A sure way to win their heart would be to feed them with such a romantic line as, “This is the first time I’ve felt so strongly about someone.”

If these findings are anything to go by, it may just be possible to determine someone’s personality without even exchanging a single word. Next time, if there’s someone you have your eye on and they happen to be riding in the same carriage as you, why not put the method to the test.

Source: Peachy

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  • 23

    Geoff Gillespie

    Want to see the way the Japanese really are? Spend a day travelling on the trains. Any facade of Japan's supposed national courtesy is quickly stripped away. They are just as rude as anybody, anywhere...

  • 9

    Ewan Huzarmy

    That woman in the picture should fart, then that git would move his head.

  • -5

    Tamarama

    I love the trains. I love how well behaved people are.

  • 5

    YongYang

    These inconsiderates get a shoe tap and a 'I am sitting down'. Generally the levels of behavior on the trains is much better than from where I originate. Some people use phones in the ORANGE ZONE some try that sleep across a few seats idiocy but by and large it's troube free.

  • 3

    Hiroicci

    "On trains, the Japanese seem to hate each other or send a "none of your business" message to each other.

    Everybody's tired, esp in the morning and in the evening, so with one little accidental touch from you, they look at you sharply or just look annoyed.

    I just wondered why and thought this out: the trains are "not-too-public" a place between their workplace (fully public) and their residences (fully private) to them. They don't know anyone on the trains, so they have no reason to keep their politeness or facade to be liked or accepted on a permanent basis. Second, they are probably too tired to give a toss about how they are seen. Third, the train space is where they are finally alone and, perhaps too early, feel free from all sorts of constraints and restraints, after a long day. For these reasons, the train space becomes less public to them than it actually is. The less public and more private space they think it is, the more they defend it or feel annoyed at one little hint of invasion from others.

    As for the young ones listening to music on full blast, however, I think the train space can be both public and private, because they may be thinking that they are listening to the coolest music in the world, so they wish to let others know what it is (even when they are actually listening to AKB), while the train space continues to be a little private."

  • 1

    Saulo Akazawa

    This is called filling in the blanks. If you take the time and try to do what the article suggest you will get to a substantially more colorfull story than the one you would discover if you, god forbid, got to actually know them.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    Sorry, Andrew, but this is the kind of feature that creates a lot of myths and leaves too much out. What you do on any given train ride does not necessarily tell you or others "who you are" at all, but what you're doing at that time. I sometimes text, I sometimes don't. I often watch others, I often don't. I sometimes stand when I could sit, I always give up my seat, or I don't if I happen to be exhausted that day and I don't think the other person needs it any more than I do.

    One thing I can agree with is Geoff Gillespie's comment; while Japanese passengers are still generally better behaved than commuters in downtown China (from my observation), and the trains better in general, they are still FAR ruder and more selfish than society implies. I saw a kind young woman give up her seat for an elderly woman yesterday, and that was the first time I'd seen that in months -- usually it's just me while passengers on the train pretend to be asleep or take up seats with their baggage and shopping. The whole 'let the passengers disembark before entering the train' is falling apart as the elderly push for seats, 'manner mode' is a word of the past, 'priority seating' evidently refers to 'first come first served', etc. etc.

    I'll still take Japanese trains over those in most other countries any day, but we can't pretend any more that it's a reflection of how courteous the people of the nation are.

  • 2

    cubic

    Random thought: I can never really understand why it's frowned upon (pretty much anywhere in the world) to talk on the phone while you're on the train, yet talking to the person next to you is fine. If you keep your voice down, what's the difference?

  • -2

    tmarie

    So what about the people who listen to music, people watch and text from time to time?! Clearly I'm neurotic going by the profiles given.

  • -1

    tmarie

    Cubic, no one keeps their voice down. People also get so wrapped up in their chat that they become a pain in the butt to others. Game players are a pain in the butt as well but at least we don't have to listen to them.

  • 8

    whiskeysour

    First there’s the person who crashes out on the train: Is really the most unconsiderate and annoying person of all. Instead of sitting upright and sleeping upright. Nooooo that's too good for you selfish drunk. You have to lie down and sprawl out like an idiot. The fumes coming out of the two ends of your body is tooooooooo much. Only time this is cool when the train is empty. Usually this happens last train or the first/ second train in the morning. -

    The drunky man with the suit. Hello Drunkie man wearing a suit. Heyyy I don't want to be bumped by you or when your standing up, nodding off and using me as a kickstand. Get off me !!!!! Plus, your breath is kicking !!! Smell you later buddy !!!! You need a shower.... and a breath mint !!!! Plus you need a Go Pro Camera to record the unbelievable sh*t that's coming from your orifice....-

    The “in a world of their own” type who’s always plugged in to their music: Your cool man/woman, drowning out the oba's, oji's, annoying children, annoying students, annoying housewives, crying babies and etc. I am with you. No music, no life. Immerse yourself in your little bubble of audio entertainment.

    Next are those seen working or studying during transit:,The hardcore hobbyists:,Passengers who are incessantly texting on their phone:, I don't have a problem with you guys... Your the most quiet group of people on the train. It's okay to keep to yourselves. All of us on the trains are strangers. It's okay. Only thing Akihabara dudes take a shower before you go on the train. Take a shower before hand and use underarm deodorant.-

    Finally, there’s always the person who just loves to observe other passengers: The person who gives up their seat for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant. Cheers for you !!!!! The observant one !!! Watching out for the weirds and kRaZiEs !!! Always watching out for the pervs and etc. Always waiting to lend a hand for the fellow man or woman. We might be alittle arrogant but we're cool at it !!!! Cheers for you !! Have that Friday Beer or Saturday beer and prepare for the Sunday Hangover !!!!!! Be proud and observant you never know who needs help....-

    When your on the platform or inside the train car keep an observant eye !!!!

    I helped so many people that looked the other way or to " busy " to help.

    Good Luck

  • 5

    Probie

    The “in a world of their own” type who’s always plugged in to their music:

    “This type of person is quite often oblivious to the world around them, has a striking sense of naivety and a tendency to shy away from others.

    This is complete garbage. I always listen to music or radio on the trian, not because I'm "naive" or have "a tendency to shy away from others", but because the majority of people on the train annoy the hell out of me and I want to block them out.

    This being said, they are actually rather lonely and yearn for human contact.

    No. Wrong again. They want to be left alone.

    For anyone looking to develop a romantic relationship with this type of person, it is recommended to socialize with them not as a couple, but as a larger group.

    That must be a very large brush they're using to paint everybody with...

    They will initially put up a barrier but once you’ve established a connection, it should be possible to create a very close relationship.”

    I bet this person says stuff like "you are tough, but sometimes weak; you like being with people, but sometimes like to be alone; sometimes you'll believe cold-reding garbage like this, sometimes you'll laugh in my face..."

    I'm sick of the snot-grunting guys on the train, and I'm also sick of those dumb drivres who shout like r-tards while they're driving. I want to shut them out. That's why I go “in a world of my own”.

    Music on, eyes closed, leave me the **** alone.

  • -2

    cubic

    tmarie

    Cubic, no one keeps their voice down. People also get so wrapped up in their chat that they become a pain in the butt to others. Game players are a pain in the butt as well but at least we don't have to listen to them.

    But if you do keep your voice down, it shouldn't be a problem right? Seems weird to me that you're 'allowed' to talk to somebody next to you, but can't talk to somebody on your phone - it's the same thing.

  • 5

    paulinusa

    She's a "counselor"? This stuff reads like the horoscope column.

  • 2

    yyj72

    They left out several significant categories!

    The pervert The racist The homeless guy The makeup artist The loud people from Osaka The Chinese trying to go incognito The American serviceman in bad shorts The sweaty gaijin

    Help me out here, peeps...

  • 2

    AKBfan

    Absolute rubbish. But the sort of tosh one needs to put out if one's "job" is "counselor in love relations"

  • 0

    Ekkusaito

    Geoff Gillespie Want to see the way the Japanese really are? Spend a day travelling on the trains. Any facade of Japan's supposed national courtesy is quickly stripped away. They are just as rude as anybody, anywhere...

    I have to disagree. Having traveled regularly on trains in China and the U.K, riding the train in Japan is a comparatively blissful experience.

  • 5

    Carcharodon

    Random thought: I can never really understand why it's frowned upon (pretty much anywhere in the world) to talk on the phone while you're on the train, yet talking to the person next to you is fine. If you keep your voice down, what's the difference?

    because typically Japanese scream into their telephones: land lines and cells and I still don't get it. Its not 1940 and you have poor analogue lines. its 2013, its digital, people on the other end can here you fine. Yelling is not polite to the person on the other end, its just plain annoying to those around you at your end. One guy in my office is like Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) when he own the phone, it's just too much. The incessant hai hai hai while on the phone on the train is probably another factor.

  • 1

    tmarie

    Cubic, the issue, as I stated, is that people don't keep their voice down.

    Why is there no mention of the idiot that violate personal space by thinking your shoulder is their pillow? These, fo me, are the worst. The guy sprawled out has "marked" his territory. You know you don't have a hope and can move away before dealing with it all. it's the annoying folks who seem to have narcolepsy who sway all over and sleep on me that drives me nuts. An elbow usually deals with it but I have seriously jabbed people - and then they have the nerve to look at ME as if I"M the issue. Whatever. See a doctor is you're that tired.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Having traveled regularly on trains in China and the U.K, riding the train in Japan is a comparatively blissful experience.

    We obviously have very different experiences in the UK. I never ONCE saw a pregnant women left to stand in the crush of rush hour. Old people were given seats, women were given seats by men and students... On a daily basis I see this NOT being done here - even in the silver seat section. I have also never seen a random stranger here offer to carry bags or a pram here. ALWAYS saw that in London - and had my suitcases lugged up the stairs by many very polite Brits.

    China? Same as here - expect they DO scream into their phones. I did like the seperate walkways for directions. Japan very much needs that as the sheep get confused without a leader with regards to which direction the flow of traffic is.

  • 0

    Hiroicci

    Don't try to give an impression that the Westerners are better mannered.

    Instead, in Western cities, especially in London, you get drunk yobs playing music aloud with a can of beer in their hands. I've seen some people piss at the train car junctions. Wanna see fighting? Try the trains on a match day.

  • 2

    Hiroicci

    As for the article above, don't count too much on so called counsellors. Get real sociologists.

  • 1

    cubic

    tmarie

    Cubic, the issue, as I stated, is that people don't keep their voice down.

    But if you do keep your voice down, it shouldn't be a problem. The rule should just be - don't talk loudly on the train, whether it be to the person next to you or on the phone.

  • 3

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    What a boring article. The comments are more interesting than what's been written..and I don't entirely agree to what was written as well.

  • 4

    fannybatter

    what about us train-drinkers? are we not worthy of mention?

  • -2

    tmarie

    **Don't try to give an impression that the Westerners are better mannered.

    Instead, in Western cities, especially in London, you get drunk yobs playing music aloud with a can of beer in their hands. I've seen some people piss at the train car junctions. Wanna see fighting? Try the trains on a match day.**

    So speaking about my experience is not okay? Gee, drinks on the train... um, Japan. Men passed out on the train? Japan. Vomit on the seats and floors? Japan. Fights between drunks on the train? Japan. Perverts? Japan. Indeed, this ALL happens in the UK and other places but YOU'RE the one trying to paint the Japanese as better mannered. It isn't the case. We've all been on the trains here and have all seen some shocking and poor behaviour.

    Cubic, if folks are so good at it, we wouldn't know they were on the phone. We'd just think they were insane folks talking to themselves... Lord knows there are enough of them on the trains here.

  • -2

    cubic

    tmarie - if they had a phone in their hands I'm sure people would understand. If they used those Bluetooth phone gloves where you talk into your hands - THAT would be insane (and hilarious, so we should encourage it).

    You missed out another variety of insane person often sighted on trains here by the way - the foul-smelling tramp who sits on the priority seats (usually on the Yamanote), and repels all forms of life within a 2m radius. The train usually smells like a bin, and is only marginally better than when somebody has been sick on the seats.

  • 4

    zenkan

    In general, people on public transport are well-mannered. I do, however, agree that the degree of giving up seats and respect for fellow travellers is vastly overrated, certainly compared to the UK. As for understanding character traits: pah!. People read, text, listen or watch, just like in any other situation. As for the use of phones - I also don't understand the "rules", and find it disconcerting when someone is having a one-sided conversation. However, it isn't really so different to talking to the person next to you. A bus driver once scolded me for answering my phone, and I was the only passenger! (Hey Stew!)

  • -2

    tmarie

    Cubic, not in Tokyo so haven;t had that experience. Thankfully.

    I wouldn't mind if people were on their phone and were quiet about it. Thing is, most aren't which is why there is an issue with it.

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    Let me know when Japanese trains need guards to watch the passengers like back home.

  • -4

    tmarie

    And in what country is "home"? The fact the they have ladies only cars doesn't mean anything to you?

  • -1

    ReformedBasher

    Australia. The guards are there to prevent drunken/high kids from running amok.

    Women only cars? Why yes, Japan does have it's own problems. Yet to meet anybody Japanese who would deny it.

    If you only complained about problems unique to Japan and didn't exist elsewhere, you'd find yourself ranting a lot less.

  • 3

    gogogo

    Next are those seen working or studying during transit:

    This should read "Next are those who need to be seen working or studying during transit:"

  • -1

    tmarie

    Reformer, my issue with your posts and others' are that you view Japan through rose tinted glasses. No one is denying there are problems in other countries. However, many posters on here can't seem to admit that Japan has problems as well. Hence my posts. We aren't discussing other countries, we are discussing Japan. And at times, I wish they DID have guards on the trains because on some lines, they need them.

  • -3

    ReformedBasher

    Reformer, my issue with your posts and others' are that you view Japan through rose tinted glasses. No one is denying there are problems in other countries. However, many posters on here can't seem to admit that Japan has problems as well. Hence my posts. We aren't discussing other countries, we are discussing Japan. And at times, I wish they DID have guards on the trains because on some lines, they need them.

    Sorry but the comparison is relevant. Trains and their passengers in Japan are better than back home. They're not perfect but hardly as bad as some of the above commenters portray them.

    As for the rose-tinted glasses reference, there was a time when I was exactly like you. Then I became objective. Go home for a year or two. If you don't change your mind, you weren't meant to live here and everybody, including you, will be better off.

  • 4

    Jimizo

    Japanese trains are generally quite civilized ( I am speaking from a man's perspective here ) and in 14 years I've only had trouble once on some godforsaken line in Shimane prefecture with a drunk making sleazy comments about my wife - her Japanese listening skills are very sharp. I've never had anything stolen or been threatened. I can remember being so touched when a salaryman next to me gave me one of his 2 cans of happoshu with a nervous smile. I refused his offer of some dried squid - now the stench of that stuff is a problem on trains . The gesture was appreciated, though.

  • 4

    lucabrasi

    @cubic

    I can never really understand why it's frowned upon (pretty much anywhere in the world) to talk on the phone while you're on the train, yet talking to the person next to you is fine. If you keep your voice down, what's the difference?

    I heard a psychologist interviewed about this on the BBC a while back. He said that humans are "programmed" to make sense of all the aural, visual etc. stimuli around them in order to build up a picture of their surroundings which provides (subconsciously) a sense of security. If we can't do this fully for some reason, we feel uneasy, which leads naturally to aggression.

    The problem with a phone conversation is that you're only getting half the information you need to achieve security, because you can't hear the person at the other end of the line. And a loud voice is additionally grating.

  • 1

    Open Minded

    Frankly speaking I think people behave very well considering the wagons are more packed anchovies tin cans than train.

  • -3

    bokuwamo

    The problems on the trains in Japan. Of course everyone can have opinions about anything in Japan. But seeing the same user names here on Japantoday complain about Japan's customs and traditions, I don't understand it at all. Not being all that old, in my mind anyway. Used to be when going to a foreign country people showed respect for that country's ways of doing things. Todays world seems to go in the opposite direction. Let's go there and change it to our liking. Are the constant complainers trapped in Japan? Are there reasons you can't leave and not be upset with living in a foreign country? If you have such strong opinions and want a country, Japan, to change. Become a citizen get the right to vote and cast your ballot for change.

  • 0

    Konsta

    Could the way we behave on the train reveal our true personality?

    Yes, it could. But this one is better:

    http://www.tofugu.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/drunk-710x455.jpg

  • -2

    tmarie

    Reformed, glad you can admit they're not perfect. That's all you needed to do.

    Been out, gave come back. Leaving and seeing the better places out and "having" to come back... I know I'm making fair comparisons. Others who've not lived anywhere besides home and Japan can't in my opinion.

  • -1

    bokuwamo

    tmarieFEB. 22, 2013 - 10:39PM JST Reformed, glad you can admit they're not perfect. That's all you needed to do.

    Been out, gave come back. Leaving and seeing the better places out and "having" to come back... I know I'm making fair comparisons. Others who've not lived anywhere besides home and Japan can't in my opinion.

    Don't understand what you are trying to say here? I will assume you are not Japanese from your postings, if you do not like a country, why stay? Comparing countries is good. Moving there and expecting the country to change because your living there now, well come on. You seem intelligent, this is realistic thinking?

  • 1

    falseflagsteve

    Behaviour and passenger safety is far higher in Japan than the two other places in know best France and the UK,

    I would rather have some drunk falling asleep than groups of yobs starting on other passengers or steaming the trains en masse to rob the passengers, I don't even want to go back to London anymore and put up with the idiots and the way they act. If anyone says Japanese behave as badly as the French and especially British on trains they are either a liar or mad.

  • 3

    Thunderbird2

    First there’s the person who crashes out on the train:

    They're tired, duh. I've had Japanese friends and GFs who have slept on the train, I dispute what the above description says about them.

    The “in a world of their own” type who’s always plugged in to their music:

    On a train I do this in Japan... I do so because there's little chance of any strangers talking to me, so at least I have something to occupy my mind

    Next are those seen working or studying during transit:

    Either a workaholic or someone in a panic... same anywhere in the world!

    The hardcore hobbyists:

    Probably just want to get the trip over with and distract themselves with a book, comic or game.

    Passengers who are incessantly texting on their phone:

    Probably because you can't talk on the train.

    Finally, there’s always the person who just loves to observe other passengers:

    Probably a JT staff writer trying to come up with the next daft article!

    How about:

    Women putting on make-up, curling eye lashes, etc

    Cute woman who falls asleep next to you and uses your upper arm as a pillow

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Finally, there’s always the person who just loves to observe other passengers:

    “This category of person tentatively watches those around them and before long gets lost in wild imagination and speculation."

    I had to LOL at this one. They're basically saying everything else in the article is a product of wild imagination and speculation.

  • -2

    ambrosia

    Cubic: I fully agree with you. If someone is speaking quietly or at a reasonably volume it should make absolutely no difference if they are talking on their cell phone or to the person next to them. To say that the majority don't talk quietly on their phones is not the point. Additionally, while people alone on Japanese trains are quiet - and why wouldn't they be since they are alone - when in pairs or groups Japanese can be as loud as any other bunch of people. Tell me the schoolgirls and obasans and salarymen here are quiet when amongst themselves and I'll tell you that you're a liar or deaf. The thing is that people are generally commuting alone so they sit in silence.

    It's the volume that should matter, not whether you're talking on a phone. If someone tells you to get off a phone when you've been speaking at a reasonable volume and says nothing to the other noisy gits then they're being a ridiculous hypocrite.

  • -1

    ambrosia

    bokuwamo; Used to be when going to a foreign country people showed respect for that country's ways of doing things.

    Really, when was that, back when the powers that be were busy colonizing and converting half of the world?

  • -3

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    This article says a lot about the personality of the writer.. she seems to say to avoid everybody.. except her.

  • -2

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    Check this out if you want to see behavior in the London Tube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o55LQEybEvA

  • 0

    Maria

    How I behave on a train tells people as much about me as my blood type does.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Don't understand what you are trying to say here? I will assume you are not Japanese from your postings, if you do not like a country, why stay? Comparing countries is good. Moving there and expecting the country to change because your living there now, well come on. You seem intelligent, this is realistic thinking?

    I'm not Japanese but have lived in four countries. One being just a few years ago. EVERY country has its good and bad. No one is arguing with that. What I take issue with is the cheerleaders for seem to think that Japan is the best at everything and has no drawbacks. I don't expect Japan to change. Would I would like the locals and the Japan loving foreigners to do is realise that Japan isn't the best at everything and that at times, it really sucks. Going on and on about the trains here as if they are perfect is a joke. They aren't. If they were, women wouldn't need their own car, drunks and everything else I outlines wouldn't exist. The NIhonron thing drives me nuts and if people didn't go on and on about how safe, how amazing, how perfect this country was, I wouldn't speak up and point out otherwise.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 2

    Xeno23

    What about the person(s) who converse loudly? Akin to playing music loudly, or speaking on the phone loudly. Yeah, the rest of you? Not here; couldn't care less - I'm king of the world. Either that or, yeah, I'm really interesting, y'know? I oughta be on TV...

    I recall the trains being pretty quiet, except for teenagers, fuyrou, and gaijins. Do people find loud conversation in a foreign language, i.e., not Japanese, to be annoying? As a gaijin, I always felt it more polite when conversing in English, to be a tad quieter than when conversing in Japanese. Still, there'd always be someone giving me the stinkeye, no matter how quietly I spoke English.

    My brother and I used to play a game if we noticed we were being watched: we'd speak English but throw in Japanese words, then start throwing in nonsense two, three, four kanji gibberish, mixing up random kun-yomi and on-yomi sounds. Quite fun watching the growing confusion...

  • 0

    Yardley

    @lucabrasi

    I heard a psychologist interviewed about this on the BBC a while back. He said that humans are "programmed" to make sense of all the aural, visual etc. stimuli around them in order to build up a picture of their surroundings which provides (subconsciously) a sense of security. If we can't do this fully for some reason, we feel uneasy, which leads naturally to aggression.

    The problem with a phone conversation is that you're only getting half the information you need to achieve security, because you can't hear the person at the other end of the line. And a loud voice is additionally grating.

    This is exactly right.

  • -2

    ambrosia

    lucabrasi: I've heard people say the same thing and my questions are always the same: Imagine you're sitting to the right of someone who you don't know. That person is talking to someone on their left. You can hear the person next to you but you can't hear the other person, the one two over from you. Are you annoyed that you're only hearing half of the conversation? Do you ask the quiet person to speak up or the one who you can hear to quiet down? Do you make any demands on either person? The likely answers to all of those questions are "no". If those are your answers then you have to seriously ask yourself if someone talking on the phone, quietly or at a normal volume, annoys you because of the reasons the psychologist gave, because everyone says you should be annoyed or because you're just generally an intolerant person?

  • 2

    Jimizo

    @Pamelot Perhaps realistic is a better word than passive here. If you live on my line ( Musashino ) you have no choice but to back in to the crowd using your backside as a battering ram to get on the damn thing in the morning rush hour. All trains from 7:30 onwards are the same. Yes, this area is overpopulated ( my transfer requests to Fukuoka are sent in every year ) and so its a good job that people are realistic and don't start throwing fists around when people start throwing their arses around.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    The joy of not having to deal with trains in Japan!

  • 1

    Mike Walker

    Ewan Harzamy,you made my day and I burst out laughing at your comment.Second comment but best.Thanks for that therapeutic giggle. Do you read Viz? You must be from the UK?

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    Having seen (in the early evening) a guy tring to place his body in the luggage space of JR train I can say with some certainty that the train is a sure place for exhibitionists.

    I now take my care or prefer to stand so that I can quickly escape from the moving loony bin.....

  • 2

    sighclops

    All I can say is elderly people should NOT be allowed to commute in rush hour.

  • 2

    flammenwerfer

    All I can say is elderly people should NOT be allowed to commute in rush hour.

    seconded, many railways create incentives to travel between 9 and 3pm on weekdays. 14-15 tickets for the price of 10 coupon cards. done to encourage the elderly to travel off peak.

  • -4

    tmarie

    Sigh, I feel the same way with regards to small kids. If they have to be on the train for daycare/school that's fine but muppet moms taking them out for the day? Wait until the crush of rush hour is over. Safer for all involved.

  • 0

    bokuwamo

    Riding trains in Japan is pretty much the same as riding trains in New York or Chicago, have lived in both also. You can use manners and be polite. You can be rude and pushy. I have found that most people respond better to being treated nicely. When I first started riding trains in Japan, talking was considered rude by most older Japanese. That being over 20 years ago and times have changed to what it is today. Meeting or seeing strange behavior is not unusual on the trains today, everyone has stories about the most strangest thing they have seen. Ignoring most of it, when possible and confronting some of it when appropriate, has been my strategy. Getting use to it all, in whatever place you are using a train. Is something some people are able to do and others not. The "not's" should reconsider their options.

  • 0

    falseflagsteve

    i agree with tmarie, how do mothers use public transport during the day when responsible adults (taxpayers) want to travel in comfort, and that also goes for seniors living off my taxes.

  • -2

    tmarie

    I guess you missed that my comments were about rush-hour, not during the day when the trains are packed.

  • 0

    Findhoem

    After reading this all I can suppose people are similar - the land doesn't matter in this modern world :) Each situation describes types of passengers I can see every day. May be their personal features should not be judged so severely :) We are all human beings. We can be tired or full of joy and behave different :)

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