I have travelled moderately wide & far. Japan was one of it. I have never experienced more helpful and courteous people than Japanese in my life so far.
Four incidents I would like to share. I was there for about two weeks. During first week I was with group of six. During second week I was alone.
As I said we were in group and with a local escort. We boarded a bullet train. The coach was largely empty. I had an aisle seat. Since the coach was nearly empty I took a random window seat. I thought I just watch outside view. Our escort came up and told me that If the passenger with this window seat boards, then I have to give him / her the seat. I said ok and forgot about it. I thought that there was no crowd anyway.
In one of the next stop, few boarded the train, one two guys took their seat some where in the coach. The train started off. A few minutes later our escort came up to me and said ” the passenger with this window seat had indeed boarded the train and was standing and waiting at the place between two coaches join.” I felt ashamed and took my prescribed seat. The gentleman then came in and quietly occupied his window seat.
The gentleman saw me occupying his seat, he did not utter a word, did not express anything, he even did not occupy other empty seat, (there were many empty seats) but stood and waited quietly. But for our escort I would not have even realised this.
More than ashamed, I was stunned to see this kind of civility and culture. That’s Japan.
Police at the Train Station :
I was to travel to place through a local train. I was alone. It was quite early in the morning. I went to the station and started looking for the ticket counter. Unfortunately the station did not have any manned counter, but had all automated ticketing machines. I could not make out head & tail of it. I found a lone Police guy and approached him. I spoke in English & asked his help. He did not know good English. He said some thing in Japanese, I did not get it. He tried few minutes to tell me something, all flew above my head. He then gave his small chair and made me sit, grabbed his land line phone and started speaking to some one. I guessed that he was trying to help me. Not sure. Few seconds later he handed the phone to me. The guy on the other side spoke fluent English and helped me out with my ticketing effortlessly. I sighed.
This great Policeman realising my need, called up some one who knew English and ensured that I got the required help.
I can’t think of this kind of help from a Policeman anywhere else on this planet. At least I did not come across. May be there are good people out there, elsewhere. But that’s Japan.
Elderly Lady at the Train Station :
I was again alone with my big baggage trying to manoeuvre a staircase at a Train station. I was trying climb up. I had difficulty in lifting the bag. I then saw an elderly lady, climbing down the stairs in hurry. She saw me struggling with my bag, she came up to me, signalled me to follow her. She took me around, to a nearby elevator, opened the elevator door for me, helped me push the bag and bowed in Japanese way.
The elderly lady in her seventies or so, was in hurry. But she took time to help me out. Where else can I find this respected lady ? That’s Japan.
Q at a Train station :
In peak hours the train stations are filled with people. This may not be case during off peak hours.
I was waiting at a train station during off peak hours. The train coach halts exactly at the location as mentioned in the ticket. No need to say that it follows the exact time to the seconds. I was just randomly standing and watching people around. There not many, rather there were very few. I then saw, two gentlemen in formals, standing next to each other like statues, in front of the coach entry point. Train was about to arrive. I just could not understand the way these two gentlemen were standing. I suddenly realised that these two guys were standing in Q. Amazing behaviour and discipline. Only two guys, yet standing in Q ??? That’s unthinkable for me.
I sheepishly stood behind them and followed the Q