5 rules of relative dating
You will hear announcements every five minutes in both Japanese and English, reminding you to keep your phone on “Manner Mode.” Trains are typically pretty quiet, so a beeping or ringing cellphone is pretty obvious.
Of course, no one is going to kick you out of the train if your phone goes off…
[For more on Mannar Mode in Japan, click here] With my phone, I only have to hold down the center button for 3 seconds before it switches into “manner mode.” While trains do have a “priority seating” area, many people who qualify for “priority seating” choose to use the regular seats. Perhaps they are worried about being shown up by an older (or more handicapped) patron or the “priority seating” area is too far of a walk.
Needless to say, if you are sitting in the priority seats and someone who looks like they could be tired/damaged/carrying a child in any way, shape, or form, give them your seat. However, just even if you’re not sitting in the priority seats, you should still give up your seat. The unfortunate part is that half the time, they won’t take my seat right away.
And, of course, the other half of the time, they will just say “are you sure?Generally speaking, if you don’t see signs saying you are allowed to smoke, just assume it is prohibited in that area. In very public areas, such as in the middle of a festival or at a rally, they will have smoking rooms for you to use.Generally assume that you can’t smoke freely anywhere in Japan. This rule is a bit more obvious; they have signs everywhere, and make public service announcements (in both Japanese and English) every couple minutes. Likewise, if you are chatting on the phone, waiting for the train, try to finish your conversation before you get on board the train.While enforcement is low in most places, trains are one of those super-prohibited places, like hospitals and schools, where you actually will get in trouble for smoking.
Nearly every train station has a clearly labeled “smoking room” or “outside smoking area” where you can light up.It is so much of an understood social taboo that they don’t even have any “No smoking” signs (or vocal announcements) on the train, unlike their constant cellphone usage rules.In any case, I wanted to make a quick post about train etiquette in Tokyo, just because there are several people I would love to give this advice to, but don’t feel like burning that many bridges.Even my college campus has a (steadily decreasing) number of designated smoking areas, even though the entire campus is 150 acres. It is alright if it is only for a couple seconds, like if someone calls you while you’re on the train, it is acceptable to answer the phone, whisper “sorry, I’m on the train, can I call you back in ten minutes? If you can’t you do get about 10 seconds of “grace period” to finish up your call before other passengers get annoyed at you.