The Odyssey

Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Tokyo.

Tokyo is big and full of people, a lot of people. This is hardly a staggering revelation and probably won't win me a Nobel Prize, though it'd be nice to be nominated, but it is a fact of life any Tokyoite, whether native or imported, must sooner rather than later come to terms with. Like London the city has bands with populations ranging from "a writhing mass" in inner Tokyo to "a fuckload" if you include greater Tokyo. Apparently, if you count the whole metropolitan area Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, with 35.2 million people living in 13,500 square kilometers*. Footage of famous Hachiko square's crowded zebra crossing and trains being crammed full by station attendants are staple fare for exploitative and often sensationalist programs on life in Japan, but they are true, this kind of malarkey does actually happen, daily.

Luckily, yet strangely, Japan's infrastructure is a well-oiled machine. Investigating the intricate network of delivery, consumption, garbage hauling, water supply, electricity and public transport would probably be not unlike a short stint in the Total Perspective Vortex. If you thought mankind's place in the Universe is insignificantly tiny in the face of infinite space, try looking at Tokyo. But the system is not infallible, and when even tiny things go wrong the whole tower block of cards comes tumbling down.

Forgive me for yet another train post, but you have to appreciate that when I spend a good two hours a day on one, the experiences make up a large proportion of my day to day life and following the “write what you know” rule it’s only natural the subject will crop up regularly. The train line I am forced to take daily happens to be one of Tokyo’s busiest and, it would seem, most fallible. It’s bad enough when you walk to your station in the morning and are greeted with a milling crowd of people, some in groups surrounding station attendants who give out free tickets and alternate route information. When the train ends up working again they will be slow and stuffed so full of people they are in danger of imploding. The platform is usually overcrowded and you may have to wait as several trains chug by, letting on a small handful of people. My hour-long commute can easily stretch to two or more on these occasions making me late for work and forcing me to do overtime to make up for the delays. This happens at least a couple of times a month.

What’s worse is when it happens in the evening. Just the other day I managed to leave work right on time only to be confronted by the aforementioned crowds though, it being central Tokyo, worse by a multiple of tens, hundreds. My only alternative was a massive detour, taking me well past my station in a different direction and then using a combination of busses and local trains and, eventually, a taxi I would manage to get home. The problem, they said, was a “human accident”. This may have been a suicide, as they never come right out and say that, but seeing as the station in question wasn’t an express stop it may well have been a poor soul dragged to death in the slipstream of a fast train running through the station. In these situations it’s of course callous to get angry, so I thought I’d do a little shopping and see if the situation developed.

After informing several colleagues and friends who use the same line, a mere half hour later things appeared to be up and running again. I made my way onto the crowded platform and luckily managed to squeeze onto a carriage quickly. However, a few stops down the line, in an already slow moving journey, we had stopped for a good forty minutes inside a tunnel. A new problem had occurred, a broken cable, which allowed me to get upset and angry without any moral implications. After a good while we were asked to walk through the train to the front carriages which had reached the platform already and get off. Now I was stranded at a local station with no alternate routes available to me.

The evening was cold and harsh winds chilled you to the bone. There was some talk of busses but the chaos outside the station didn’t bode well, so I made my way to a local family restaurant to have a quick dinner and see what happened. Of course I was not the only one with this great idea and queues had formed everywhere. Luckily, as a smoker, my seat became available early, so I wasted some time with a beer, coffee and shitty meat platter with rice. Every other customer there was in the same boat and the staff looked surprised and overworked. Everybody was checking their mobile phones for further information, but it took a good hour and a half before there was any change. At least I was warm here.

When the news came the trains were back up and running I wasn’t convinced. The possibility of further problems and longer delays seemed real, as I had been burnt by that earlier in the evening, but begrudgingly I made my way outside. On the way back to the station however I noticed a man getting out of a taxi, so I jumped the bushes and got in before anyone else in the crowd could. This was, in retrospect, a mistake. The roads were crowded and progress was slow. Eventually, despite some quiet detours, the taxi ride took about twice as long as the train would have, which I heard later ran smoothly for the rest of the evening, even if they were somewhat crowded.

In the end, all said and done, my usual one hour trip back home took four and a half.

Whenever small problems like the above crop up it’s a little scary to see how much chaos is created. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of people are stranded and need to use facilities unable to cope with the strain. Busses are stuffed beyond capacity, taxis are making a mint, roads are gridlocked, family restaurants run out of steak and yours truly has a wasted evening. It’s almost as bad as the company running out of coffee the next day, forcing me to survive on a mere two mugs until lunchtime. In a microcosm like Tokyo I’s a little scary to realize how fragile things can be and though a single train line conking out is bad enough one shudders to think what a real earthquake would do or a massive power outage.

* Source: “QI: The Book of General Ignorance” by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson


  1. And I thought I had it bad when university sports traffic slowed me down on my drive home.

    My sympathies, sir.

  2. Busiest line in Tokyo ? which one wold that be ?
    I take the Denentoshi line every day and I have a hard time imagining anything busier. Toyoko-sen might have higher volume but probably not higher density.

  3. I can feel your frustration. When I visited Tokyo, I had a similar situation happen to me. It was annoying enough having it ruin half of my day as a tourist, but I can't imagine going through that weekly or bi-monthly before and after work. Maybe if/when you move jobs, you should look in a slightly less populated area like Yokohama. Or buy a personal jetpack ;)

  4. @ian maclean
    Chuo-honsen maybe?
    It leads directly from the Greater Tokyo area to the metro area.

  5. And to think I thought the saikyo-sen was bad!

  6. 情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,美國aneros,rudeboy,英國rudeboy,英國Rocksoff,德國Fun Factory,Fun Factory,英國甜筒造型按摩座,甜筒造型按摩座,英國Rock Chic ,瑞典 Lelo ,英國Emotional Bliss,英國 E.B,荷蘭 Natural Contours,荷蘭 N C,美國 OhMiBod,美國 OMB,Naughti Nano ,音樂按摩棒,ipod按摩棒,美國 The Screaming O,美國TSO,美國TOPCO,美國Doc Johnson,美國CA Exotic,美國CEN,美國Nasstoy,美國Tonguejoy,英國Je Joue,美國Pipe Dream,美國California Exotic,美國NassToys,美國Vibropod,美國Penthouse,仿真按摩棒,矽膠按摩棒,猛男倒模,真人倒模,仿真倒模,PJUR,Zestra,適趣液,穿戴套具,日本NPG,雙頭龍,FANCARNAL,日本NIPPORI,日本GEL,日本Aqua Style,美國WET,費洛蒙,費洛蒙香水,仿真名器,av女優,打炮,做愛,性愛,口交,吹喇叭,肛交,魔女訓練大師,無線跳蛋,有線跳蛋,震動棒,震動保險套,震動套,TOY-情趣用品,情趣用品網,情趣購物網,成人用品網,情趣用品討論,成人購物網,鎖精套,鎖精環,持久環,持久套,拉珠,逼真按摩棒,名器,超名器,逼真老二,電動自慰,自慰,打手槍,仿真女郎,SM道具,SM,性感內褲,仿真按摩棒,pornograph,hunter系列,h動畫,成人動畫,成人卡通,情色動畫,情色卡通,色情動畫,色情卡通,無修正,禁斷,人妻,極悪調教,姦淫,近親相姦,顏射,盜攝,偷拍,本土自拍,素人自拍,公園露出,街道露出,野外露出,誘姦,迷姦,輪姦,凌辱,痴漢,痴女,素人娘,中出,巨乳,調教,潮吹,av,a片,成人影片,成人影音,線上影片,成人光碟,成人無碼,成人dvd,情色影音,情色影片,情色dvd,情色光碟,航空版,薄碼,色情dvd,色情影音,色情光碟,線上A片,免費A片,A片下載,成人電影,色情電影,TOKYO HOT,SKY ANGEL,一本道,SOD,S1,ALICE JAPAN,皇冠系列,老虎系列,東京熱,亞熱,武士系列,新潮館,情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,情趣網站,跳蛋,按摩棒,充氣娃娃,自慰套,G點,性感內衣,情趣內衣,角色扮演,生日禮物,生日精品,自慰,打手槍,潮吹,高潮,後庭,情色論譠,影片下載,遊戲下載,手機鈴聲,音樂下載,開獎號碼,統一發票號碼,夜市,統一發票對獎,保險套,做愛,減肥,美容,瘦身,當舖,軟體下載,汽車,機車,手機,來電答鈴,週年慶,美食,徵信社,網頁設計,網站設計,室內設計,靈異照片,同志,聊天室,運動彩券,大樂透,威力彩,搬家公司,除蟲,偷拍,自拍,無名破解,av女優,小說,民宿,大樂透開獎號碼,大樂透中獎號碼,威力彩開獎號碼,討論區,痴漢,懷孕,美女交友,交友,日本av,日本,機票,香水,股市,股市行情, 股市分析,租房子,成人影片,免費影片,醫學美容,免費算命,算命,姓名配對,姓名學,姓名學免費,遊戲,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,線上遊戲,新遊戲,漫畫,線上漫畫,動畫,成人圖片,桌布,桌布下載,電視節目表,線上電視,線上a片,線上掃毒,線上翻譯,購物車,身分證製造機,身分證產生器,手機,二手車,中古車,法拍屋,歌詞,音樂,音樂網,火車,房屋,情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,情趣網站,跳蛋,按摩棒,充氣娃娃,自慰套, G點,性感內衣,情趣內衣,角色扮演,生日禮物,精品,禮品,自慰,打手槍,潮吹,高潮,後庭,情色論譠,影片下載,遊戲下載,手機鈴聲,音樂下載,開獎號碼,統一發票,夜市,保險套,做愛,減肥,美容,瘦身,當舖,軟體下載,汽車,機車,手機,來電答鈴,週年慶,美食,徵信社,網頁設計,網站設計,室內設計,靈異照片,同志,聊天室,運動彩券,,大樂透,威力彩,搬家公司,除蟲,偷拍,自拍,無名破解, av女優,小說,民宿,大樂透開獎號碼,大樂透中獎號碼,威力彩開獎號碼,討論區,痴漢,懷孕,美女交友,交友,日本av ,日本,機票,香水,股市,股市行情,股市分析,租房子,成人影片,免費影片,醫學美容,免費算命,算命,姓名配對,姓名學,姓名學免費,遊戲,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,線上遊戲,新遊戲,漫畫,線上漫畫,動畫,成人圖片,桌布,桌布下載,電視節目表,線上電視,線上a片,線上a片,線上翻譯,購物車,身分證製造機,身分證產生器,手機,二手車,中古車,法拍屋,歌詞,音樂,音樂網,借錢,房屋,街頭籃球,找工作,旅行社,六合彩,雷射溶脂,抽脂,整形,整形,雷射溶脂,珠海,婚紗,新娘造型,婚禮顧問,網頁設計,水噹噹,醫學美容,玻尿酸,台中隆鼻,果凍隆乳,改運整型,自體脂肪移植,下川島,常平,常平,珠海,澳門機票,香港機票,貸款,貸款,信用貸款,宜蘭民宿,花蓮民宿,未婚聯誼,網路購物,婚友,婚友社,未婚聯誼,交友,婚友,婚友社,單身聯誼,未婚聯誼,未婚聯誼, 婚友社,婚友,婚友社,單身聯誼,婚友,未婚聯誼,婚友社,未婚聯誼,單身聯誼,單身聯誼,白蟻,白蟻,除蟲,老鼠,減肥,減肥,在家工作,在家工作,婚友,單身聯誼,未婚聯誼,婚友,交友,交友,婚友社,婚友社,婚友社,大陸新娘,大陸新娘,越南新娘,越南新娘,外籍新娘,外籍新娘,台中月子中心,搬家公司,搬家公司,中和搬家,台北搬家,板橋搬家,新店搬家,線上客服,網頁設計,線上客服,網頁設計,關鍵字,關鍵字,seo,seo,網路排名,自然排序,網路排名軟體,交友,越南新娘,婚友社,外籍新娘,大陸新娘,越南新娘,交友,外籍新娘,視訊聊天,大陸新娘,婚友社,婚友,越南新娘,大陸新娘,越南新娘,視訊交友,外籍新娘,網路排名,網路排名軟體,網站排名優化大師,關鍵字排名大師,網站排名seo大師,關鍵字行銷專家,關鍵字,seo,關鍵字行銷,網頁排序,網頁排名,關鍵字大師,seo大師,自然排名,網站排序,網路行銷創業,汽車借款,汽車借錢,汽車貸款,汽車貸款,拉皮,抽脂,近視雷射,隆乳,隆鼻,變性,雙眼皮,眼袋,牙齒,下巴,植牙,人工植牙,植髮,雷射美容,膠原蛋白,皮膚科,醫學美容,玻尿酸,肉毒桿菌,微晶瓷,電波拉皮,脈衝光,關鍵字,關鍵字,seo,seo,網路排名,自然排序,網路排名軟體,汽車借款,汽車借款,汽車借款,汽車貸款,汽車貸款,借錢,借貸,當舖,借款,借貸,借錢,週轉,學英文,英文社團,英語俱樂部,學習英文,英語會話,英文演講,English Club,學英語,學英文,美語社團,英語社團,英文讀書會,Toastmasters,Toastmaster,英語讀書會,托福,多益,英文讀書會,拍樂得植牙,拍樂得牙醫,拍樂得批發,拍樂得飾品,拍樂得化妝品批發,