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Monday Morning Commute

Tokyo: monday morning commute

This morning’s office is cramped to say the least – my nose is pressed up against the collar of a salariman whose fresh pomade and comb induced rice rows (the local unintentional equivalent of cornrows) I am now intimately familiar. Just to my right a lady is reluctantly pressing her petit, squishy breast against my rib cage propelled by an influx of yet more pushing bodies. To my left a row of four heads are dipped, dozing and by co-incidence the angle of each head perfectly reveals a bald spot in the rough of each of the four suited gents. In a future perfect world of augmented reality slot machines (motto – ‘pattern match, win prizes’) four-in-a-row is a definite winner. But right now, having staked a claim on some the few seats in this rush hour train the dozed are snoozing through their jackpot.

As it leaves the station, the mass of bodies start to settle and the muscular tension that was countering its acceleration starts to dissipate.

Tokyo: monday morning commute

Every space has its own etiquette but few as fascinating, and as fascinatingly dense as the Tokyo subway during rush hour. For trains traveling in from the ‘burbs every additional stop before a mainline destinations like Shibuya ratchets up the pressure – no-one leaves, a brave few take a breath and enter.

It’s rare to have the opportunity to enjoy this Monday morning commute – cycling being my regular vehicle of choice and Tokyo being eminently cycleable, so subway journey’s like today are a novel experience to be savoured. The Denentoshi becomes the Ginza becomes the Marunouchi in this cross-town safari to my ultimate destination – a hospital in Ochanomizu.

Let the week begin.