Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 16:Four on Trains

35º44”57.27’N 139º44”44.45’E

1. Lifting

If a train is crowded enough, there can be a phenomenal amount of physical pressure exerted on standing passengers. On three different occasions, my feet have lost contact with the floor of a train due to the pressure of the shifting mass of bodies as we rounded a curve.

2. Commuting in Parallel

In Tokyo, there are often trains running on parallel tracks. At times, you can see clearly into the next train as it runs next to yours at the same speed, just a few meters away. You sometimes make eye contact or notice interesting things about the strangers in the other train as they look back at you. Nobody ever waves.

3. Flipped Relationships

Sometimes I can’t quite make it to my desired car on the train before the doors close, so I get on and begin walking down the length of the train on the inside. If I’m walking opposite the direction the train is travelling, there is a brief moment when it begins moving that I am walking forward but the platform out the window seems stationary, giving the curious sensation that the floor is travelling beneath me, rather than me travelling across it.

4. The Mountain

From where I live in Saitama Prefecture, Mt Fuji is sometimes visible. You need clear weather, though, and you need an elevated position. Most of the time, if I can glimpse the mountain, it’s from the train as I commute into Tokyo. I consider a clear sighting as a good omen for the day.

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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