Monday, October 4, 2010

back o' the line, punk!

I suspect that in many other parts of the world, the tagline for this latest lesson in metro etiquette -- "Please get on the train in turn" -- would sound hopelessly optimistic. But it's really quite a reasonable request here in Tokyo. In fact this sign is probably more reminder than reprimand, as most people, from what I've seen, already respect the rule of the queue.

This type of standard behavior, coupled with the characteristic hush of a commuter crowd here (no raised voices -- not much talking of any kind, really -- and no eye contact) used to feel strange, but now it seems completely normal. I used to marvel at Tokyo's order and efficiency, but now I take it all for granted. It's the relative anarchy of a New York City subway station that feels foreign. I'm spoiled now. I'm ruined. I've lost my New York edge! I've lost my tolerance for filth and rude, pushy crowds! I've gone soft!

This is not good.

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