In Tokyo, the trains move at the speed of light. Well, 320km/h but when you’re standing at the station and one whips past you – it feels like light.
An integral part of the experience.
The trains are so clockwork, so orderly, so clean, that it only makes sense that they’re everywhere. There are thirteen different lines which converge into a confusing mess of a map. But, with a bit of thinking, you can use them to get anywhere you need to go. Whether you’re a local or tourist, you end up spending a lot of time at stations. That’s not actually a bad thing. The vending machines offer café quality options – from hot soups and coffees to iced matcha tea and ice cream bars.
Watching the trains, I found my thoughts wondering. . .
There was something about the power of the trains that made me consider the fragility of life. I couldn’t stop thinking about how easy it would be to jump in front of one, and in less than a second my body would have smashed apart. At 320km/h, my body would probably travel with the train for a while, with every bone shattered, before collapsing onto the tracks. It would be so easy.
The trains represent Japanese society.
This isn’t to say worry about me – I just think that the trains inspire thinking. The trains also perfectly represent Japanese society. So, on-time, so well-run. Japan is an incredibly beautiful and interesting culture, and everything seems so perfect to an outsider. The trains – which contrast so vastly with the dirty metros and late buses of other countries – are yet another example of Japanese mastery.
They’re also just an important Tokyo experience.
I also just really enjoyed the trains. I did feel rude when I talked slightly too loudly compared to the locals, but that was a small worry. The trains are high, and from them you can see swaths of Tokyo buildings. You can glimpse into gardens and school-yards, sweep past the famous Shibuya crossing and watch the neon lights as it gets dark. If you travel further, you can catch long sunsets and high wires. It’s poetic, and it’s beautiful.