Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Offensive Train Behavior

Putting on make-up on the train is considered rude. I don't get this. The only reasoning I've heard is that you disrespect other people by acting like you're alone in your house thus pretending they're not there. I don't get it. Anyway we have other problems. Here are the top five examples of very common train behavior that I find really offensive. I spend three hours a day on trains now, so pardon the bratty bitching.

5. Bad breath.
Brush your fucking teeth. Fuck. How old are you? It smells like you've had a dead fish stuck in your throat all week. Whenever that rotten breeze hits my nose I think about how I'm actually breathing your nasty exhaled cat-breath into my own lungs and I want to barf.

4. Reading porn.
Hi, I'm a middle-aged businessman in a suit. I look so respectable. I am a pillar of society. The best part of my day is when I stop by the station kiosk to pick up the latest copy of my favorite shitty soft-core porn comic book full of junior high schoolgirls in sexual situations, then sit down on the train in the middle of all the real-life junior high schoolgirls and flip through it in front of them. Adult men like me just want young girls to know, HEY! Little ladies! We're thinking about fucking you! So if you're thinking you can look to us for advice or guidance or support in life, well, we're thinking about fucking you.

3. Sleeping on me.
Dear stupid gross jerk from last week: Hilarious! -- how you kept uncontrollably dozing off and slumping all the way over onto me over and over no matter how hard I woke you up with my elbow or pushed you upright, and then when another seat opened and I moved, you suddenly sat up and started intently playing your DS.

2. Using me as a recliner.
This one is bad because it's painful and mean. It only happens once in awhile on packed trains. These guys hold onto the handle and then relax by leaning their bodies back, putting all their weight on the back of the person behind them. Has this ever happened to you? It's so uncomfortable, it pushes your body forward and you can't do anything about it because there's nowhere to move and you can't push back much against the entire body weight of someone bigger and heavier than you when you've got no leverage. If it's really bad I'll bust out the elbows but they just ignore it -- one even scowled over his shoulder at me. But I can see they've got space in front of them to stand up straight. They just want to lean. It's so selfish! :(

1. Picking your nose.
They don't just pick their noses, these guys! They dig, without shame, head held high, mouth wide open, sometimes for several minutes, stopping to inspect whatever they've got on their fingers, dusting their hands out in front of them to spread their booger-dust everywhere. SERIOUSLY WTF. This is the only thing that will make me give up a seat on my long commute. I wear a lot of black. One sprinkling was enough.


Julie said...

Number 2 is so easy. Just push back so that they can tell that you can tell they're leaning on you. This is like a warning for them. Then, when you're pushing back as hard as you can, just suddenly LURCH forward as quickly and as far forward as you can without hitting anyone else. Then, the guy will fall on you sharply and you can exaggerate a look of shock at being suddenly slammed from behind. It's best if other people see you get slammed, too.

That beings on the good posture and the polite sumimasen for the rest of the trip.

Beth said...

i'll try that next time but the chuo is always so crowded i never have room in front and no one ever looks shocked or says sorry at a slam :(

anais said...

sorry this is my first post here. i've been following your blog for a while now - good stuff =)
i used to live on the chuo line when i first moved to japan and one day, back in the naive days, i asked my co-worker, "hey why are there so many delays on the chuo". seems the locals like playing with the traffic. =s
nothing seems to surprise me about japan now.

Lisa said...


Tokyo Moe said...

Maybe you could just loudly say, "I am not your pillow." Try for embarassment!

kathrynoh said...

With makeup, I think depends on what you are doing. Girls here do the full mineral makeup thing, flicking the powder so it goes everywhere. But something like touching up lipstick doesn't hurt anyone and I am totally in awesome of anyone who can do eyeliner on a train!

Reading porn on the train is about as wrong as you can get!

Jenn said...

I had a recliner last week on a train from Nagoya. The guy was relentless so eventually I just discretely side stepped him and he fell back into three other people. He got up pretty quick with a few bouts of "sumimasens" and couldn't figure out what happened. Maybe give it a try next time? I really only had to move a couple inches and turn my shoulders. Worked like a charm!

Harley said...

Hi Julie - I love your no nonsense description of bad behavior. Do you think these guys know they are doing something wrong but just don't give a shit?

I have a site called which helps people find suitable language exchange partners in cities where they live including Japan. Maybe one of the subjects we should be recommending is subway behavior. That could stimulate the conversation somewhat!

Jen B said...

This is perfect. Well observed :-)

Beth said...

kathrynoh, that's true, any manner of flicking/sprinkling is not ok on the train. i've never seen anyone do that but i would be annoyed. i don't think that's why the makeup thing is considered rude, though. i still don't get it.

haha jared i'll practice that line.

jenn, i'm so glad other people have experience with this! i tried to explain it to a couple friends and they had no idea what i was talking about.

harley, you talking to julie or me? anyway they totally know what they're doing and just don't care. morning commutes bring out the worst in people. i think the same thing happens with drivers of cars, but people are protected by their vehicles and not squashed up against each other.

Miyuki said...

In regards to the makeup thing...
The only reason I can see for it being rude is elbows. in. the. FACE. I can see how irritating it can get if you're in a crowded one like chuo and some girl is trying to put on eyeliner and stuff. It feels like you have to be careful about not bumping into her at all (hard to do on a moving train sometimes), and then she herself may keep bumping her elbows into you or spraying mineral powder. It's all about the Japanese mentality of not bothering other people, I think.

Jen B said...

I dunno... a sprinkling of mineral powder? Just rub it in. Frugal is in.

Beth said...

miyuki, that makes the most sense so far.

jen b, lol. can you imagine if you sprinkled mineral powder on someone and they were like "ooOOOH!" and rubbed it in