Edit Blog Post
Published: October 14th 2009
I wake up exactly at 6:20 each morning and take a quick shower. I don’t have breakfast. When I walk out the door, the crows have the city and there are not so many people around. Without the people Tokyo is a different place, more transparent and breathable. But when the 'black suits' come out, they change everything taking over from the crows who are almost done scavenging the garbage.
I used to walk to Yoyogi station, but the railway crossing finally got on my nerves and so did the drunken stalker who was waiting for me outside of Seven Elevenand cryingbecause I did not reply to his e-mails. Now I walk to Shinjuku station bypassing the Crispy Cream Donuts enveloped in the most overwhelmingly saccharine aura you can imagine. This is the only time there is not line-up, but it never occurs to me to walk in - I don’t want to start on the path of sugar addiction again that took years to break.
I usually board the same train on the Yamanote line headed in the direction of Ueno. At this hour the sits on the trains are pulled up to make more space for the
commuters, so everyone is standing with their head down. The vibes are kind of bad and the energy is super low. You don’t get feeling of 'wow, it is a beautiful morning!' Everyone looks like they are on the way to do their time in prison and there won’t be a parole for another ten years. I try not to feel and look like this, but the feeling is contagious! At Takadanobaba I change lines and board a more down-to-earth, working-class Seibu-Shinjuku line that I really don’t like. It is not uncommon to see drunk people on this line even at this hour - they are either drunk from yesterday night or beginning their drinking day. On the way home I often see people with cans of chu-hai or beer. This is around 4:30 and too early to start drinking even in my opinion. I am not against drinking in general, but seeing those rough working class characters getting loud and kind of out of control is unsettling. I feel a strong anti-foreigner sentiment lately on this line. After riding like that for ten minutes, trying not to make eye-contact with any of the weirdoes, I have to change to a local train to get to my school. Since I always ride at the same time, I see the same people every day. There is a man in his 40s who rides with his son . His son has some mental disability. I don’t know what it is called, but basically it translates into not understanding social rules and doing what he wants when he wants it. Most of the time he is singing in a very loud voice - this is something people, even children don’t do on morning trains in Japan. The father always tries to make him quiet, but to no avail. The boy’s singing is actually quite good and I prefer it to the deadly of all the people who are riding unconscious to work.
But this particular morning a new character boards the train and decides to sit right next to me. I can't tell if he is really a midget or just a really small person, but he is decked out in kind of Victorian-era elegant looking clothes. As soon as he sits down, he takes out a sketch book from his bag and starts sketching with a kind of intensity not often seen on Tokyo trains on a typical morning. I look sideways and can see that he is drawing a woman. I think to myself ' Wow, at least someone is inspired this morning to create some art - how nice!' I forget about him for a while and get lost in my own thoughts on the subject of art and inspiration, but the sound of his pencil brings me back to reality andI look at his sketch again. But this time there is a clear outline of a Japanese woman with a lot of hair riding a very stiff member - ahhhhh, now I understand where the intensity is coming from !
I am lucky that we are almost at my station and as I get up to exit, I start thinking about how naive I am. Back in Canada, I used to think that all those stereotypes of perverts being everywhere on Tokyo trains and men reading hard-core porn manga while sitting next to children were totally blown out of proportion, kind of cultural myths, but now I living in Tokyo I see that they are totally true. Japan is not as weird as you think - it is even more so!
Tot: 1.167s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 9; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0546s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb