Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tohoku / Niigata train observations from Tokyo eyes

Some casual observations about the trains.

- Tohoku people tend not to sleep on trains.  I assumed it means Tohoku people get more sleep than people in greater Tokyo.  Hiro thinks it may be as much to do with the fact that if you oversleep your stop, you'll likely have a long wait till the next train back.
- Many stations are unattended - unsurprising when there are only a couple of trains a day. At these stations though the driver / guard double as ticket collectors.  The guard also sells tickets to people getting on.
- Tohoku school girls wear stockings rather than socks - logical considering the temperature - but their skirts are shorter. 
- Tokyo people make a beeline for the corner seats on a train - mostly so they can snuggle into the corner and grab a few more minutes of sleep.    Tohoku people in contrast, presumably mindful of the cold blasts of air when the doors open, opt for the seats in the middle for preference.
- Doors don't automatically open.  There is an open shut button.  (see picture) People are careful to press the shut button behind them as they step out the door.  It's very considerate to passengers who don't appreciate cold blasts of air for sustained periods.  Very eco too.   (Some of the long distance commuter trains to Tokyo have them, but they often seem to be over-ridden by a central operator.)
-Stations have warm waiting rooms - in consideration of the cold and the infrequency of services.  In Odate the waiting room chairs all had hand made patchwork cushions. 
Odate station waiting room
Oetsu line waiting room

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