After riding on the Tube in London, our Japanese reporter is thankful for crowded Tokyo trains. 

Japan’s capital city of Tokyo is known around the world for its crowded trains, with the busiest train stations in the world located here, and conductors seen physically shoving passengers onboard during rush hour.

One of our Japanese-language reporters, Seiji Nakazawa, is no stranger to Tokyo rush hour, as he’s lived near stations on both the Yamanote Line and Keio Inokashira Line, cramming himself into their crowded trains on his daily morning commute.

However, on a recent trip to England, where Seiji explored haunted castles and became an international rock sensation, our seasoned rail traveller hopped on the underground tube in London during rush hour…and it’s an experience he says he never wants to go through again. 

Seiji says he always thought Tokyo must be relatively bad in terms of crowded rush hour commutes from hell, after a number of his foreign friends had complained about the city’s insanely packed trains. So when he got on a train in London, he imagined there’d be plenty of room for him to stretch out and enjoy the non-Tokyo train life.

▼ However, when he stepped aboard, he saw this.

Seiji was so surprised he had to stop himself from turning around and stepping back onto the platform. The train was just as packed as Tokyo’s Yamanote loop line, with scarcely any room for him to move inside.

The main problem with the underground in London is the fact that the trains seem so… small. At least on Tokyo trains there’s quite a bit of head room inside, but here in London, the ceiling of the train was so low you could touch it, and the carriage was narrow in width as well, making it feel incredibly cramped.

Riding on a crowded train this small was like a double-punch to the system for Seiji. Not only was the train packed with people, but it felt like the carriage itself was weighing down on his body as well. And it wasn’t just one train in London — it was the same on trains he rode at four other stations, and at the end of each trip, he felt the life being sucked out of him from the sheer exhaustion of it all.

While he’s used to being squashed in on all sides by commuters on Tokyo trains, Seiji has never felt like the walls and ceilings of the carriage were caving in on him, like he did on the underground in London. Riding the tube during peak hour is an experience he never wants to go through again, and now when he’s squashed in on all sides by commuters in Tokyo, he’s thankful, at least, for the width and height of Japanese trains.

Photos © SoraNews24
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