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Most annoying behavior in Japanese trains

This entry was posted by on Monday, 24 October, 2005 at

The Organization of Private Railroads in Japan (日本民営鉄道協会) [my translation] recently released the results of the 5th annual poll on annoying behavior in commuter trains.

I first read this last week somewhere but I forgot to comment on it, although I found some of the results quite amusing. And then today I read Simon’s Blog where he had taken a picture of the poster displaying the results, so I got the inspiration to post about it again. On the official site of the organization, www.mintetsu.or.jp you can read about the poll. Basically they polled people commuting with any of the 16 major private railroads in Japan about what they thought was the most annoying behavior of fellow passengers. Here are the results from this year’s poll (as best as I can translate it):

1.How people sit in their seats 24.8%

  • Sitting down with their legs spread too wide.
  • When young or healthy people sit in the priority seats.
  • When people don’t squeeze together enough in the seats to fit more people in rush hour.

2.Usage of cell phones 19.9%

  • Speaking on a cell phone with a loud voice.
  • Loud ring tones.

3.Behavior when getting on the train 8.6%

  • People who ignore the line of people waiting for the train and just boards ahead of everyone else.
  • Not waiting for people to get off first before boarding.

4.Sitting on the floor of the train 8.1%

  • People sitting close to the doors blocking boarding/getting off.
  • When 5-6 people sit in a ring-formation on the floor.

5.General noisy behavior 7.0%

  • Groups of people acting loud and rowdy.
  • Parents who don’t tell off their loud children.

6.Headphones turned too loud 6.1%

  • Having the volume too loud in a crowded train so everyone has to listen to the sound.
  • Bass and beats too loud.

7.Women putting on makeup 5.1%

  • Hair and smell when putting on makeup/fixing hair is annoying.
  • Things better done in private should not be done in public.
  • Even as a fellow woman, it can be unpleasant to watch.

8.People carrying bags 4.9%

  • People who don’t take off their backpacks when in the train.
  • Placing bags on the seat.

9.Smoking on/around the train 4.7%

  • People who smoke anywhere outside the designated smoking area.
  • Throwing cigarette butts on the platform.

10.Eating and drinking on the train 4.0%

  • The smell fills up the whole car.
  • Just leaving garbage in the train after eating/drinking.

Well, most of the answers I fully agree with! There’s nothing more annoying to me when people waste space in the seats by sitting like sack of potatoes and/or with their bag next to them! Further, people rushing onto the train before you have time to get off is so darn annoying, too. I always try to elbow them in the chest to make a point! But, I can’t say I am particularly bothered by women putting on their makeup on the train. I find it amusing that they do, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

4 Responses to “Most annoying behavior in Japanese trains”

  1. it’s a tad annoying when it happens to me but rather amusing to watch others – when someone is asleep on the train and they start leaning, more and more, sometimes right into the lap of the person next to them. it’s always fun seeing the person’s reaction (or lack of one) as this stranger starts getting too close for comfort…

  2. Johan

    Yeah, that’s true. It’s fun seeing the person next to them getting more and more horrifed, all the while trying to maintain a neutral facade! Especially fun is what happens when the seat is extra crowded, and the person sitting next to the sleeper has to sit sort of bent forward, not with his back against the seat – and then the sleeper next to him/her falls behind his back! Hilarious! 😉

  3. I really hate all the spitting men do on the platform/stairs. That has to be the most antisocial. Loud conversations and cellphones are annoying, but as a Westerner, I don’t want to be crowded up against strangers as much as Japanese are used to and I will continue to use my bag to get a little extra space where I can avoid being touched. And I need the extra legroom too. If the trains had wider/bigger seats we wouldn’t need to be so crowded together.


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