You never know what’s going to cause a mini Twitter storm in this day and age. One grumpy commuter caused fellow netizens to take sides on an issue that is surely one of the great debates of the modern era – should teachers be making their students sit on the floor of a train?!

Spring is the perfect season in Japan – not too cold, but not too hot either. It’s a time when a lot of schools take their students out on trips to the seaside or mountains. Back when I was a child in the UK we’d always go to places on a special coach, but here in Japan it’s common to see hordes of children boarding the trains all in matching caps or rucksacks. Ah, the the happy memories of sunny school trips from days gone by. But it seems not everyone is mellowed by nostalgia.

One grumpy passenger uploaded this picture of kindergarten kids sitting on the floor of a crowded train, and received a flood of responses. These were split between people who thought the guy was being an asshole, and those lamenting the state of education today.

This guy was not pleased to have a sea of small human beings washing around his feet. His tweet reads: ‘I don’t know if they’re on a trip or something, but is educational policy these days about making kids sit on the floor of crowded trains?’

The children and their teacher can be seen in the shot, and he was criticized for uploading a picture of strangers to a public platform. Others jumped in to inform him that the since there was nowhere for the children to sit, and they were’t tall enough to reach the handles, perhaps the teachers decided that that it would be safer for the kids sit on the floor rather than having them falling all over the place. Maybe they could have had them sit in individual open seats, but then the kids would have been dotted around the carriage and it would probably have resulted in every teacher’s nightmare, that moment when you take roll-call and one little voice doesn’t answer. Whatever they do, it’s a difficult call to make, because you’ll probably end up with at least one irritated passenger like this guy.

The man defended himself by saying that the scene was ‘sooo depressing’ and ‘dirty’. You have to remember that in Japan it is generally not considered acceptable to touch the icky floor, which is where some of the concern may be coming from. Anyone having a picnic here will make sure to bring along a sheet of plastic (blue, of course, always blue), and people crouching down for a rest will make sure their butt is hovering a few inches above the potential cesspit that is the ground.

For me, the takeaway from this microcosmic Twitter storm is nothing to do with whether or not kids should be sitting on the floor of trains, but more about the fact that we should remember to be cautious as anything we upload to social media these days could cause a small ‘outrage’, as per the netizen responses below.


Japanese netizen responses:

“There’s probably kids for whom it’s their first time taking a school trip by train, and they can’t reach the straps”
“Would you rather have them fall over and roll around on the floor screaming?”
“It’s because it’s dangerous”
“What’s happening with education in kindergartens and nurseries these days?”
“And what kind of education have you had, uploading pictures of random people on a train to Twitter?”
“You should kick every last one of them!”
“They’re all sitting there being so well behaved, it’s cute”
“I always stood up on the train when I was a kid lol”
“I’ve lost my faith in the Board of Education”
“I sat on the floor when I was a kid too, when the train was crowded”
“It’s ‘cos they can’t hold the straps”
“This is terrible”

Source: Yukawa Net
Images: Twitter