Surviving The Train In Japan

By a Jamaican currently residing in Japan.

So, my last blog went viral.

Thanks to a tweet from the fastest man in the world, people from the likes of YouTube blogger Bella ‘Good Gyal’ Blair to Jamaican poet Tanya Shirley called me — wait for it — a witty writer.

I swear I felt like Micheal Jackson after Thriller.


Then, I thought — didn’t MJ spend the rest of his life trying to top Thriller?

Dear God —

Will I ever top my ‘Bolt’ Blog?

Suppose they don’t like what I write next?

Suppose I don’t like what I write next?

What the hell will I write next?

Self-doubt crept in like a bad case of diarrhea.


But after making peace with the fact that Bolto will ride the waves for some time to come, I managed to quell the voices in my head with a tall glass of pineapple juice and coconut rum —so, here’s my next blog:


Close your eyes.

Go ahead.

Close them.

Now, imagine a school of fish.

They’re swimming in a synchronized fashion — changing directions in harmony — they’re precise — extremely quick.

Now, I want you to watch this vid.

Amazing right?

Well, go through Shinjuku or any other busy train stations in Tokyo on any given day of the week and you’ll see the same thing happening, but with less precision and more brute force.



“You’ll get really squished and they’ll push you around a bit. But, it’s okay to push back. Don’t be intimidated. The Japanese are used to it.”

Image via
Image via

That’s what Jenny my Californian colleague told me a week earlier.

That advice was stuck in my head as I approached the somewhat organized confusion at Iidabashi Train Station.

The closer I got, the more I realized that brisk walks and light trots were becoming Olympic type sprinting.

 Now, here is where the problem started. See, I wanted to run. I KNEW I should run, but the Jamaican in me kicked in — there are two things Jamaican women do not run after — a man and any form of public transportation.

Check the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2011 — page 2 — Section 91 (a):

“All Jamaican women are under a responsibility to respect and uphold the rules and regulations recognized in this Chapter and referred to in subsection (9). To pursue, chase, hunt, or run after a man, car, bus, train, or bicycle, shall be held to be inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter and therefore shall be deprived of liberty.”

That’s a law!

There was no way in hell I was going to break any Jamaican laws just because I was in a foreign country. Nope. Not doing it! I continued at my slow pace.

Big Mistake. Huge.


Before I explain what happened, let me try to provide some background knowledge.

See, the Japanese are a meek, peaceful people. You won’t hear noise in their communities, they don’t honk their horns, and they don’t speak loudly.

You can just imagine that a lot of pent up, repressed, emotion is trapped inside them.

I quickly learned that on the train is where they let it all out.

They pushed, squeezed and stomped me within an inch of my life.

Don’t get it twisted — they don’t reach out and push you with their hands. Nope. It’s real passive aggressive. They use their backs, their elbows — their umbrellas.

It was awful! 

And, when I thought the train couldn’t take one more person, 20 more piled in. I swear I entered like this:

Image via
Image via

And exited like this:

Image via
Image via

By week two, I was pushing, shoving and stomping like the best of them. And in the mornings during ‘crush’ hour, not even Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could outrun me to get in before the crowd.


Disclaimer: No, I did NOT use Shelly-Ann’s name with the hope that she may see my blog and tweet it out to her trillion twitter followers. Yes, I believe if the fastest man in the world does something — for example tweets some unknown girl’s blog post — the fastest woman in the world should follow suit. It’s only fair. You can’t have one outdoing the other. But, thank God I am a classy chick. I would never stoop so low as to use a popular person’s name with the hope that they may share something I write. That’s gauche, shameless and downright despicable.

So, if anyone knows Shelly-Ann — (Camille Davis *wink wink*) — like any famous Jamaican Actress — (Camille Davis…how you doing hun?) — please tag her in this blog for me.

Until next time…

Check out Keisha’s blog HERE and Like her Facebook Page HERE

… and always LIVE, LOVE, & LAUGH A LOT!!! – APieceOfMine © 2015

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Andrew Gray
7 years ago


Andrew Gray
7 years ago


Andrew Gray
7 years ago