His puffy black coat pressed against my ratty H&M basic jacket; I believed I could hear a sigh coming from his sleeves, as I was pushed into the tiny space behind him.
It was an early morning in the Subway train of Toei Oedo Line. As usual, I departed from Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station since it was the closest station from my hut. And yes, by hut, I’m not exaggerating. I live in a 6.74 m2 room inside a so-called Sharehouse. Well, since space is really expensive here in Tokyo, for foreigners, they might be surprised by how small a person’s room would be, regardless of how high the rent is.
Enough with the intermezzo, let me get back to my point. It’s been a daily routine in Tokyo; people were commuting to work, pressing against each other, racing to get enough space and better spot inside the train. Every second, people were busy checking on their phones as if there was no tomorrow. Some just remained calm, while others kept their eyes open for an empty seat. Me? I could win an Oscar for the best actor of a silent movie as I clutched my iPod from my pocket and put the blue metallic earphone in my ears, drowning in silence while listening to my cheesy playlist.
The skeptical-looking middle-aged woman beside me glanced.
As the foreigners here always recited:
Japanese people tend to walk really fast.
What you might call a run means a walk to them.
Everything needs to be done quick and on time.
Not more, not less.
To some extent, Tokyo is defined by these intimate non-intimate moments, the packed train, people pressing up close against each other, maybe even closer than you’ve ever been to a friend, maybe even closer than you’ve ever been to your own lover. Thank God, it’s Winter, people wear coats, jackets, you name it—Those keep us safe from actual skin-to-skin contact with complete strangers. That being said, in fact, we take up so much space up to the point that there’s no gap between each person. We’re just an individual being inside the body of a moving train, being a busy body for a few minutes without putting any effort.
Though I put my music on, I could still hear the automatic announcement machine playing the fixed audio files in the background, telling me that I’ve arrived in my so-called Gold Mine. As the door opened, people were rushing out through it and I felt as if I needed to move out quickly, otherwise, I will get stampeded. When I thought that it’s finally over, the reality once again bitch-slapped me on my face. People were lining up to climb the escalator, queuing as if they were ants distributing some sort of sugar so that the Queen could have a prosperous life. There laid my Gold Mine. It’s gonna be another hustle and bustle day.
**I wrote this post 3 years ago and forgot to hit the publish button lol**