Stay on everyone’s good side with these pointers on Japanese train etiquette.

On 16 December, the Japan Private Railway Association published their 2021 “Ranking of Annoying Acts in Stations and Trains“, using responses to a questionnaire on their website submitted by 2,006 people from October to November this year.

The questionnaire on manners in stations and trains revealed the top ten behaviours that annoy commuters the most, with the 10-5 ranking being:

10. Eating and drinking in crowded carriages 11.6% (up from 14th place last year)
9. Sound leaking from headphones 16.3% (down from 8th place last year)
8. Riding in a drunken state 16.9% (up from 9th place last year)
7. Leaving garbage behind, like empty cans, etc. 18.3% (same as last year)
6. The way people hold/place their luggage 19.0% (same as last year)
5. Smartphone use (walking with smartphones, using them in congested areas, etc.) 21.0% (same as last year)

The above results show the same things that annoyed people last year have been continuing to aggravate them in 2021, with not a lot of change in the rankings, aside from eating and drinking in crowded carriages, which rose from 14th place to earn a mention in the top 10 this year.

Smartphones, litter, and baggage woes held the same positions on the list as last year, reinforcing the need for signs like this one below, which asks passengers to take bulky bags off their back and hold them or place them in the overhead rack.

So let’s take a look at the top five behaviours that annoy commuters in Japan.

4. Coughing and sneezing with no consideration for surroundings 27.2% (same as last year)
3. Manners when boarding and alighting (obstructing the door, etc.) 29.8% (same as last year)
2. The way people sit in their seat (squeezing in, leg-spreading, sleeping on others, etc.) 37.4% (down from 1 last year)
1. Noisy conversation/being a nuisance 39.1% (up from 2 last year)

So there you have it — the thing that irks passengers the most in Japan is noisy conversation and being a general nuisance to others. While loud talking on board trains has always been a bugbear in Japan, it’s become even more of a taboo during the pandemic, nudging it into the number one spot as restrictions ease but fears surrounding droplet transmission remain high.

So next time you board a train in Japan, or move through one of its famously busy stations, be sure to mind your manners and avoid annoying others with the points mentioned in the top ten. And if you’re a woman who needs to apply makeup while on the train – happy days! It didn’t make the list this year like it did back in 2018, when they even made an ad about it.

Source: Japan Private Railway Association via Otakomu
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso 

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