It is nearly impossible to sit still in Japan. Tokyo is one of the cleanest, busiest, most efficient places that I have ever visited. It is 8am and I am waiting at the gates of the Tokyo Metro Shinjuku station. Organized lines of people await the approaching train. As the train pulls into the station, I can see children pressed up against the doors giggling and wide-eyed. Mixed amongst them are hundreds of men and women ready to start their day.
The doors slide open… and the children burst forth from them, running to the nearest exit. A rush of wind breezes off the platform as the business people hustle to their destinations. They travel in organized, yet intricate patterned lines. Everyone has somewhere to go. There is focus, determination and endurance in these underground networks. I have never witnessed anything like rush hour in Tokyo!
Though it seems chaotic, everyone is mindful, respectful and polite. Men offer their seats to women, children and the elderly; people wear surgical masks to keep from infecting/ being infected by the crowds; if you are carrying a map you are automatically reassured by someone that you are travelling in the right direction; unaccompanied minors navigate their way through the subway to school; Michelin Star sushi chefs await you at the exit… Everyone cares. Everything works. No one is bigger than the system. (Even when you are lost… and you know that the man helping you is 20 minutes late for work… he will take time to at least point you in the right direction.) I love this place!
A comparison of Toronto subway system to Tokyo Subway system. Penis envy… yup.