Who knew that it would be so hard to get OFF the bus? We’ve all heard about how crowded the trains and buses are in Japan. And they ARE! And we’ve seen those videos of transit workers PUSHING more riders onto crowded trains. But we found ourselves with a very different, and interesting dilemma.
When taking crowded buses we were surprised to find that while getting on was difficult, getting off was almost impossible. In the US, when you press the “next stop” button and stand up, people move out of the way so you can get off the bus (or train). Not so in Japan – it was actually kind of weird. No matter how many sumimasen’s, we couldn’t get anyone on crowded buses or trains to move out of the way so we could CREATE MORE ROOM FOR THEM! Very funny. The funniest part was how determined everyone was in their “ignoring” the miscreant departer. The only way to get off was to actually push and shove people out of the way, stick your hip out, drive into the crowd, step on toes, whatever it took. We found this part a little challenging, but also noticed it on many occasions. Here is yet another awareness of small cultural differences that make travel so interesting.