Apparently this is a thing that happens enough that JR East decided to print up posters about it.

It’s been said time and time again that the trains of Japan are a source of national pride. From their crack cleaning staff to their kindness, to their striving to stay on schedule despite the occasional drunk guy getting his head stuck under a seat.

However, such a high level of service is a double-edged sword in that it raises the expectations of passengers to the point that even dipping to a level that’s considered average to people in other countries is totally unacceptable to people here. That’s why you may occasionally hear of apologies for trains leaving 25 seconds early.

And although this is by far a minority, there are apparently enough people who vent their frustrations over inconveniences by assaulting the staff to warrant the publishing of this poster.

“Spitting on staff is a crime. Malicious nuisances will be severely punished. This absolutely must stop. Anyone who witnesses it, please notify station staff or police.”

This message from JR East was spotted by our reporter Mr. Sato, who was especially disappointed in its necessity. Back in his twenties, before he moved to Tokyo, Mr. Sato used to work on the railroad all the live-long day in Shimane Prefecture. Although it was a rural area that only saw a single train in an hour, it was still demanding work.

Whether under the scorching heat of summer or blankets of snow in the winter, Mr. Sato was out there aligning the tracks to a millimeter’s accuracy, ensuring safe and reliable passage for the train cars that passed over it. All this was also done in the late hours of the night when the trains don’t normally run, just to ensure that no one’s service is disrupted.

Despite the hardships, he still felt a sense of pride in being a part of something so big and so special to Japan. This is why it pained him to see his fellow rail workers treated in such a manner by the very people they work so hard to satisfy.

▼ Past posters such as this one from 2015 warned against a variety of violent acts against station staff, such as head-butting and throwing beer.

Image: JR East

This might seem out of character for the people of Japan, who are often said to be courteous to a fault. More strangely, there appears to be no clear cause for these attacks. According to an NHK report, they mostly occur “suddenly and without reason.”

Hopefully, anyone who gets filled with this sudden urge to spit in a train station staff member’s face takes a moment to consider their action and remember it’s just the same as spitting in Mr. Sato’s face.

And to spit in a face like that is to lose a chunk of your own humanity.

Images: SoraNews24 (Unless otherwise noted)
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