The “People Pushers” at Tokyo Metro Station
If you’ve been doing some research on YouTube regarding Tokyo’s morning rush hours and saw some Train Officers pushing people to fit in train cars, we nearly saw one on our visit. It was about 7:20 in the morning in the Metro Station (Hibiya Line) in Akihabara and the train car in front of us was already full… or so we thought. I was already thinking to myself how full this train is until a Tokyoite arrived, turned his back to the train car, planted half of his feet on the car and started moving backwards. It wasn’t easy as he didn’t have his whole body inside the train. With half of his feet planted on the edge of the train and hands grasping the door, he slowly inched his way backwards. You really see him exert effort in pushing and nudging little by little to get in the car until his whole body was inside the train car! Nobody from the car itself was telling him to stop, or pushing him from the door as this is an accepted way to get in a crowded train in Japan. We were so awed at watching him do this for less than a minute that we forgot to take photos or a video. But this is one experience in Tokyo that we would never forget.
We did experience getting a train car and getting pushed inside like it was the last train out of hell. It wasn’t that easy for us as I had to protect Xiane and give her enough space or else she’d be literally squished. No one ever said a word, mumbled, grumbled at how everybody gets to invade each other’s personal space, but what you’d end up having is enough space for your chest to contract and expand to breathe. I’m not kidding one bit! As Xiane puts it, we were like sardines in a can! We joked that it should be considered as one of Disneyland’s ride. But that’s life in Tokyo!
With approximately 280 people crammed into each commuter train car during rush hour in Tokyo, safely closing the train doors is much like sealing the lid to an overflowing Tupperware container. To ensure doors close without any dislodged bags or limbs, oshiya (passenger pushers) work during the morning and evening rush hours at the busiest train stations in Tokyo. They push. They shove. They sometimes say “sumimasen” (excuse me). All aboard!