“East exit, West exit, South exit, new South exit…The number of exits is the number of possibilities.”

They might seem like uplifting words at first glance, but panic erupted in Tokyo this week as the above poster was hung in the world’s busiest train station, Shinjuku, hinting at the imminent addition of yet more exits. Could it really be that the station residents of Japan’s capital city have playfully dubbed “the dungeon” may be about to get even more complicated?

▼ “Stop!!! Shinjuku can’t make any more exits than there already is.”

[tweet https://twitter.com/typekanon/status/578551872019005441 align=center]

For those not familiar with Shinjuku Station, here’s an easy-to-follow map. Those little specks of black you can hardly see are meant to represent people, to give you a sense of scale.

If you want to know what it’s like to be in Shinjuku Station, just imagine that forest on The Legend of Zelda where you have to walk in exactly the right order of turns to get anywhere but lost. Now, fill it with about 100,000 people all power-walking in different directions at the same time, many of them carrying bags or hauling luggage. It’s just that fun.

The above tweet’s plea yielded over 20,000 retweets and several sympathetic comments such as:

“I lost all hope after they added the Southern Terrace Exit.”
“The number of possibilities (to get lost).
“After graduating from college I moved to Tokyo. I first got off at Shinjuku Station and got completely lost. I remember half in tears asking the station staff the way to any outside road.”

and, finally:

“I hate Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Station.”

According to a Niconicopedia page on Shinjuku Station, there are already over 200 exits to be found, but what constitutes an actual exit can be hard to define whether it’s limited to ticket gates, accesses to the outside streets, or shops which have access to both inside and outside of the station. So why would they advertise the possibility of even more with such a devilishly optimistic message?

■  They didn’t
The photo taken by the tweet cut off the bottom part which contained the logo for the insurance company Tokio Marine Nichido. Their recent advertising campaign has them putting up posters in many of Japan’s major stations with messages indicative of those transport hubs.

In the case of Shinjuku, the decided to take its baffling number of exit points and turn it into a positive message of hope by saying each one is a chance for something great. That, however, is like trying to tell a balding man that every hair lost is one step closer to losing weight.

Source: Twitter, Facebook, Tokio Marine Nichido, Niconicopedia (Japanese)
Shinjuku Station Image: HYN – FC2