By now we’ve all either heard stories of their efficiency or ridden them in person, but Japanese trains remain something of a source of amazement to many tourists visiting the country. They’re so clean! People obey the rules (well, usually…)! And the doors open exactly where they’re supposed to!
The following videos are examples of just how precise Japanese train drivers are expected to be, and how the simple process of lining up the doors of their train’s carriages with a couple of arrows painted on the platform is something that can bring great joy to many when they see it happen, and incredible anger and irritation to others when it doesn’t quite work out.
First, the good! Taken back in 2006, this video presents a perfect example of how skilled and precise some train drivers over here are. It’s like watching a roulette wheel spin, with your lucky number coming, then going, then coming back again…
Let’s see that again!
▼There’s the target, and here come the doors.
▼It’s slowing… slowing… slowiiiing…
▼No! No, no, no, no! You’ve gone too far!
▼But wait! Could it be? There’s still a chance!
The chuckles of the men taking this video remind me of how I felt the first time I saw a “perfect serve”, as a friend of mine once termed it. For anyone who, like me, has a tiny bit of OCD in them and likes things to line up just right, this is one of the tiny pleasures of living in a country where train drivers treat their job like they’re serving the Queen of England herself.
Of course, sometimes it doesn’t always go as planned. At times like these, most of us shrug and count ourselves lucky that it works most of the time. No big deal. But there are some who get more than just a little annoyed…
Clearly irked that the train has stopped a couple of feet ahead of where it should have, this man reached for his mobile phone and immediately caught the heinous act on camera. Seeing it displayed on his screen clearly brought out even more of the Hulk in this gentleman, however, since he then marches over to the driver’s cabin at the front of the train and pounds on the glass shouting “You’re way past the mark! You’re past the end of the tactile pavement!” (The yellow, bumpy areas on the platform’s surface for those with impaired vision.)
We’d like to think that this man genuinely has the visually impaired in mind when he voices his complaint, but something tell us he’s merely using that bumpy yellow paving as a guide for how far the driver overshot.
Take a deep breath and chalk it up to human error, sir. Tomorrow’s another day.