Average Tokyo Rush Hour
To say it was far too overcrowded would be a lie. It was only very averagely overcrowded in this Tokyo subway 17:03 from Ueno station. For those westerners who do not quite grasp the concept of ‘average overcrowdedness’ during rush hour, please just imagine the train being about 1000% full.
The conductor of the train gave a signal to the man on the platform. The train has started, and the fierce-looking Oshiyas with the metre-long wooden sticks wiped the sweat off their faces. Already a new crowd of people has started waiting for the next train, due to arrive in 4 minutes and 12 seconds, give or take a few microseconds.
8 minutes and 33 seconds later, the train arrived at Kasuga station. Here, Mr A, a scientist, managed to locate a free seat. He quickly sat down before anyone else noticed it. ‘Phew, that was lucky’ he thought. He loosened his tie, took off his jacket, and tightly held his black briefcase which contained an object more important to him than anything else. And due to his long working nights on a new product, the lack of sleep caught up and he immediately started feeling drowsy.
Unemployed Mr B suddenly went into a quiet rage within himself. ‘Damn, if only I had not been looking at that girl’s breasts, I would have taken that seat’. He was annoyed because the free seat was taken by a distinctly average man whom he saw as a commoner. ‘But still, he didn’t need to sit down in such a rush. Couldn’t he have shown a bit of respect to someone above him, like me?’ Mr B had just come out of an all-you-can-eat buffet. ‘Financially, I suppose it’s a loss for a customer to go to a buffet. After all, you just end up drinking beer and that’s not included in the cost. That fills you up and then you can’t really eat’. At that moment, the train jerked. Mr B was swung over and accidentally knocked a young woman. ‘Oh, I am so sorry’ he said. ‘This train does really shake a lot doesn’t it?’ and he did a very large and noticeable burp.
‘Yes’ replied the woman. And smiled.
‘She is a hottie’ thought Mr B. ‘But don’t concentrate on her, concentrate on a free seat…’ and he started looking around for a free seat. Meanwhile, the woman had left his side.
‘Oh for fuck sake’ thought office worker Miss C. ‘Why is this train so full of fucktards? Jesus Christ, that guy really did stink of beer. Isn’t it fucking courtesy to not board a train if you’re fucking drunk? Go burn in hell, you inconsiderate motherfucker, and have your balls pinned up by Satan! Oh God, he burped again. He really needs to sort his messed up life out and pick himself up from whatever shithole he lives in…’ And she moved away to escape from the stench of stale beer and partially digested meat.
Another office lady, Miss D, was wearing a tight shirt and a black miniskirt. Needless to say, she attracted the attention of many men. She couldn’t stand the sort of person who was sitting diagonally opposite her. He looked to be in his mid-fifties, and was reading a paper. No, he was not reading the paper; he was hiding his face behind the paper and was glancing at her. No, not her, but between her legs. She was a bold woman. If the person sitting was an attractive person, she was the sort of person to purposefully uncross and cross her legs over and over again. But a grandpa? No chance. ‘If you’re so good at your job and making such a living, why don’t you have the courage to ask me directly huh? Just come up and ask me “please open your legs” why don’t you? Just because you have a decent job and life doesn’t mean you own the place you filthy pervert!’ And then she put her handbag on her lap. Now she was fully protected.
Mr E was a part-time worker and a university student. He was sitting in the disabled seat and was looking at a comic book. Yes, he was only looking, not reading. The page had not changed in the last 10 minutes. ‘Yes, I have a good view. That’s right girl, cross your legs. Maybe I can get a cheeky glance up her skirt. I sure was lucky to find such a good spot though. The last few nights were nightmares, all with either men or old women. This one’s good. Really good’. Just then, their eyes met. ‘Shit’ thought Mr E and went back to pretending to read the comic. Her suspicious eyes wavered over him, but immediately lost interest and became fixed again on a rich-looking person a few seats away from him. ‘Come on baby’ thought Mr E. ‘Be a good girl now, cross those legs’. Suddenly, a brown bag and a big foreign man blocked the way. ‘Oi, idiot, get out of the way. Shit, come on please, hurry up’. Fortunately, the man was only there for 5 seconds or so, but during that time, the woman had put a handbag on her lap and had her legs tightly together. It was now almost impossible for the sneak view.
Doctor F was getting increasingly annoyed at the young woman in the miniskirt diagonally opposite him. He was completely against girls like her wearing skimpy dresses. Furthermore he detested how they would accuse anyone that looked at them for being perverts. He wanted to distract himself from this annoying feeling, and was rustling the paper. ‘What? What do you say I did? (rustle rustle) Are you implying that I tried to stare? You must be kidding (rustle rustle). I am a doctor, respectable, and with a family. I am not one of those weirdly fetished people you find nowadays. I am different! (rustle rustle) Fine, I’ll admit, I may have glanced a few times because you’re seeking attention too much. But that’s it (rustle). Anyway, people who wear those kinds of clothes actually want people to stare in reality. I am a doctor, I should know. Your sorts don’t really care if you prance around butt naked do you? Well why don’t you? That’s your mentality. Stop accusing everyone else for looking(rustle rustle rustle)’
Mr G was a fifty-two year old unemployed man. He was the sort of person you would find in a dirty, poorly-kept high-rise apartment. He abhorred the rich people showing off their stylish cars and expensive watches nowadays, including the doctor sitting next to him on this train. He knew this was a doctor, as a stethoscope was hanging out from his pocket. ‘So what if you have a stethoscope’ thought Mr G. ‘So what if you have a high pay job? Stop acting sophisticated and drawing attention’ Of course, Mr G was talking about the newspaper the doctor was holding. Mr G could see that the doctor was now obviously reading the financial section. Mr G could not understand any of what was written. ‘I hate your kind. You show off to others how clever you think you are, with your expensive houses and a wife with big breasts. Stop making that rustling noise. Makes me want to puke, I’ll have you know. I’ll teach you not to show off the stupid articles.’ Then he took out from his bag a low-quality paper he picked from a dustbin, turned to the most explicit page, and started reading, making sure that part of his paper was covering part of the doctor’s.
Mrs H was a widowed grandmother of five. She was perfectly in good form, and she knew very well that the disabled corner was the best place to get seats. She stood in front of them, however, in dismay as she saw a mid-thirties man, a teenager with a comic book, and two people in their fifties, both holding a newspaper. The person who had the least right to be in these seats was the teenager, she decided. So she carried out the usual strategy. She would ‘accidentally’ lose balance and knock the teenager. She would say ‘Oh, sorry, I am getting quite old and standing up is getting hard’. Then he will have to give up the seat! She tried this, but the teenager had no reaction, let alone stand up. He did not even flinch or look up. ‘How rude’ thought Mrs H. ‘Why are you sitting there and not me? Who do you think survived the hardships of the war and let you live like you do now? Who do you think toiled day and night and bring up children in the middle of the economic crisis? We are the ones who made Japan this way. We are the ones who brought peace to the country. And what? How can we not sit down on a train? Surely this should be guaranteed for us? We made Japan peaceful, and we are the ones who allowed this train to run. This is our train, so we should sit down. I’ll make you stand up someday’
Thirty-one year old office worker Mr I wanted to curse the heavens when an old woman making her way towards the disabled seats caught his eye. No doubt she would ask someone on these seats to give it up. He scanned around. Two middle-aged people and a neddy teen. Surely the teen would go first. But in case the teen refused to give up his seat, he took to pretending to be asleep. ‘Why the fuck do these old people choose the worst time on the train? Jeez, the government should do something about these oldies. They have no economical value to the community. They’re fucking parasites, that’s what they are. They don’t do anything, but they feed off our money that we make. We work day and night to help the economy. We’re maintaining Japan the peaceful way it is. We are supporting the modern Japan, and these oldies come and talk to us about the war days? They’re gone. We are the heroes now. You guys just stand back and leave it to us. And, of course since we do all the work, we should get priority seating’.
A housewife with the name of Mrs J got on the train with a truckload of shopping bags. She immediately found a seat. Well, not a seat, but a space. It was between a young woman and a man. She swiftly made her way over, smiling apologetically to people she bashed out the way with her bagful of glass bottles. She forcefully squeezed onto the space, took a sigh, and organised her shopping. The woman next to her stood up, and when Mrs J noticed, the woman was glaring at her, and was mending the wrinkles on her suit. Instead of apologising, Mrs J took advantage of this extra space for her shopping. ‘Christ, why is my bag so heavy today? Oh yeah, I bought a 10kg bag of rice. I forgot. But seriously, even with one of my sons at uni and the other on a school trip, why do I have to get so much stuff? It’s all because of him, he drinks so much beer. I wonder how long it would be before he gets liver disease and I can cash in on his insurance? God why is that woman looking at me like that? She’s young and energetic. She should be able to tolerate a standing up train journey. She’s only carrying a handbag. You don’t think I deserve it more than you? Well I suppose you have a future ahead of you. A future plagued with a husband and a family and shit loads of shopping. You’re going to turn just like me someday’.
To-be-married solicitor Miss K was sitting next to a very average looking guy. He stank, so she pushed herself against the iron railings at the end of the seat row. Thus, a 30cm gap was produced. So she must have been the most unfortunate person when she saw a fat middle-aged woman hobbling towards this gap with all the shopping bags in the world. She quickly did her sums, and deduced that, since this woman’s butt was at least 60cm, there would be 15cm flesh on her lap as well as the man’s lap. She prayed ‘please don’t sit here’. But alas, the Gods were against her today. The impossible squeeze kicked in, and she was shoved uncomfortably against the railings. This continued for a further five seconds before she felt a sharp pain, caused by the iron railing burying itself underneath her ribs. Angrily, she stood up and looked at the woman, expecting an apology and rubbing the creases made on her suit. To her fury, no word of apology came, and the woman just put more of her shopping on the free space. ‘Fine then’ she thought. ‘You ignorant bitch. One day somebody’s going to teach you a lesson. Why the hell do you have to come onto the train with so many people with so many bags? Don’t you have the common sense to know that this will cause so much bother to everyone? This train is reserved. Get that right, hag. It’s reserved for people who work for the people of Japan like you. You don’t have any right to come barging in like that. There are no seats for fuckers like you who don’t do anything but to eat and shop. And no, I am never going to end up like you. NEVER!’ The other passengers were oblivious to the silent war between Mrs J and Miss K.
At Akihabara station, a mother, Mrs L, and her son boarded. The son was in school uniform. Immediately, the son started shouting and wailing. ‘Mommy, I want to sit down!’
‘OK, let’s see if we can find you a seat. Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t find one’
‘But I want to siiiiiiit!!! Mommy let me siiiiiiit!’ and he squatted on the floor.
‘Shhh…everyone’s looking’ she finally realised that this boy was embarrassing himself and her. But deep inside, she was thinking ‘What do you guys want? You don’t have to look so bothered. He’s such an adorable boy. Why can’t you just let him sit? He’s cuter than any of you. You know what? He’s a bit sensitive. He’s different and special from anyone else. He’s been chosen by Gods. He’s SPECIAL. The very least he deserves is a goddamn seat! Well, at least it’s not long until I get out of this train today, and once and for all. I’m going to enter him in an auditions for pop stars, and he’s going to win. He will win, and we will be rich, and we are NEVER riding such a shitty train again!’
‘Hey little boy, do you want to sit here?’ asked a mid-twenties man. The kid looked up to the mother hopefully.
‘Are you sure sir? Well go on then. Go and sit there.’ The boy scampered off happily. ‘I am so sorry’ said Mrs L to the man.
‘No, no, it’s all right. He’s a cute boy isn’t he?’
‘Not at all, not at all’ responded the mother, but inwards she was thinking ‘He is isn’t he? Praise him more, praise him more!’ But to her dismay, he went off down the coach.
Professor M was in a bad mood due to lack of sleep and time for work. He was a workaholic. He needed to sort out some papers for tomorrow, and he had only done about 70%. He desperately needed the time, and had cut hours of his sleep doing this. He also lost no time on the train. But after Akihabara station, he could not concentrate. All because of an idiot mother and son, completely ignorant of the very people they rely on for a stable economy. ‘Such bastards’ he thought. ‘That thing is not a cute child at all. He’s just like a fucking monkey. And the woman is a bloated lump of fat as well. God, I feel sorry for whoever had to marry her’. He went to the far end of the coach to escape from the unsightly scene.
Miss K was thinking ‘I am NEVER turning into someone like the fat bitch’.
Mrs J was thinking ‘You’re going to turn just like me someday’.
Mr I was thinking ‘I am NEVER giving up this seat’.
Mrs H was thinking ‘I will make you give up that seat’.
Mr G was thinking ‘Stop fucking rustling the papers’.
Doctor F was thinking ‘Would you quit glaring at me? (rustle rustle)’.
Mr E was thinking ‘Oh, can I see? Will she cross her legs again?’
Miss D was thinking ‘You looked again. Stop looking and glancing. Great, now that teen is looking at me as well. Would everyone just stop it?’
Miss C was thinking ‘For fuck sake, at last I’m away from the beer and burp guy, but now I’m fucking stuck with nicotine guy. Go get lung cancer and burn in hell!’
Mr B was thinking ‘All these commoners taking the seats and a respectable man like me can't sit?’
At 17:44, Mr A jumped out of the train onto the platform of Shibuya station, just before the doors shut. ‘Phew, that was lucky. The sleepless nights are really getting to me.’ He heard a hissing noise. He opened his bag, and saw that one of the two unlabelled cans was spraying out a gas. ‘Oh well, doesn’t matter’ he thought. The gas was a new product that he was told to work on to help the police. It was a gas which would make a person blurt out what they think uncontrollably. ‘It doesn’t matter. The train is just a cage full of unacquainted people. I doubt anyone has anything they really want to say to each other…’
The train left the platform into the dark tunnel.