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Sleeping commuters

commuter train tokyo japan metro morning rush hour

I took today’s photo a month ago on our way back from Tsukiji. While the day seemed like it was well underway for us (as we had been up and about for six hours) it was just beginning for these morning commuters on the Tokyo Metro.

Being 6′ 4″ in Japan has its pros and cons. On a crowded train you aren’t face-to-face with those crowded around you. On the other hand, I hit my head on the dangling hand grips on a very regular basis.

A funny story happened shortly after I took this picture. At one of the main stations most people got off, and I grabbed a seat next to a sleeping beauty. She looked very similar to the lady in the advertisement holding the “Zasshi” (magazine). She was sound asleep though and had no idea a strange gaijin was now sitting next to her. As soon as the train started she put her head on my shoulder and proceeded to sleep on me. My 11-year old daughter’s eyes grew quite wide as she observed this woman sleeping on her father. I tried to get her to take a picture of the two of us, but she was unwilling. 😉

At the sleeping beauty’s stop she promptly woke up and made a beeline for the door, never looking back or noticing who it was that served as her pillow.

Lest you think that being slept on is all fun and games, I’ve had similar experiences a half dozen times since then and they have all been far less pleasant. Usually it’s a fat, sweaty guy, or a pimply-faced teenage boy, or simply far too hot to have anyone asleep on your shoulder.

8 Responses to “Sleeping commuters”

  1. 1
    carolyn USA:

    These is such a great photo…absolutely great!

  2. 2

    Great post and photo. Pity indeed you couldn’t convince your daughter 🙂

  3. 3
    The Envoy:

    The commuters all look asleep already.

  4. 4

    The Japanese are so amazing when it comes to sleeping, they can do it while standing up and anywhere^^ Also interesting how the sleeping beauty woke up at the right stop, would make me wonder if she was actually asleep or did it for some other reason…

  5. 5
    Dumb Otaku:

    I don’t know I have read a lot of blog posts with similar stories of them just waking up at the exact moment they needed to to get off. Maybe it is a japanese interal clock thing since the busses are so prompt. I notice that when lightly nap i’ll wak up shortly before I need to leave or do something. I dunno.

  6. 6
    Gunn White:

    I can imagine the situation! 🙂
    A nice documentary shot!

  7. 7

    Nice picture! My husband has had similar experiences too (and he too always hits his head on stuff since he is 6-4). A long time ago I took a picture of a girl who looked poised to fall asleep straight into his lap. And I also don’t understand how they all manage to somehow wake up just in time for their stop. How do they do that??

  8. 8

    I noticed that sometimes they don’t manage to wake up at their stop. ^^
    You shouldn’t assume when they jump out at a certain station that it’s because it’s their home station. Sometimes they went to far and have to take the train in the other direction. 🙂