[READ] A Disturbing Train in Tokyo
A Guy Tries to Commit Suicide on my Train in Japan
At some point in my travels I’d mentally noted that Japan was said to have an unusually high suicide rate amongst its citizens, especially men. Jumping in front of the bullet trains was so popular, the Japanese government imposed a law that if the person was identified, their family would not receive any life insurance.
As we bumble along the Tokyo train lines, heading a bit further out of the city, our train burst out of the tunnels and was suddenly running alongside apartments. We sat in our seats, relishing the sudden sunlight, heading for an animation museum. The train slams on its brakes, throwing unawares people forward, some loosing their footing and dropping things. I was expecting madness to follow, but instead, an overwhelming sense of calm. The Japanese obviously experience this on a regular basis, so we needn’t fret.
After a few minutes of being at a complete stop, we all started to murmur our distain and look out the windows to see what was going on. On the opposite side of the carriage some Japanese women were staring and talking in an urgent yet bemused way. I slipped up next to them to take a look.
Outside on the middle of a train track was a man who looked either very drunk or perhaps a little crazy. He would systematically lay down on the track while beckoning the trains to run over him. After a while he would get up, frustrated, and go to lie down on another track. This was a fruitless act, for all the trains within the area had their brakes automatically applied, so no more trains would be coming through any time soon.
He rose and started to stumble towards our train, blood trickled from his head down the side of his face and he was in clear distress. He tripped on a track, and got up once again, still heading towards us. He fumbled up to our carriage, right over to our doors, and started banging on them forcefully, screaming in Japanese. I was speechless, unable to do anything. Then he disappeared.
It was difficult to see where he had gone since we couldn’t see very well from the windows on the train, but it looked like he had gone to lie underneath our carriage. Suddenly I could see him again, on the other side and down an embankment, trying to outrun some policemen. The police would catch him, but as soon as they would loosen their grip he would break free and run again towards the trains. All the while I had become aware that no one on the train seemed at all affected by the scene unfolding before them. I asked a young Japanese woman what was happening, she simply replied: “he’s crazy.”
After around half an hour of the police playing cat-mouse with the upset man, they finally convinced him to come off the tracks and into a nearby car. The train bumped into motion and we were shuddering along to the next stop, 40 minutes late.
And just to top off our already surreal morning, as the train finally pulled up to the stop and was about to close the doors, a Japanese man in a full matching ADIDAS outfit ran from the train in a bizarre frenzy. I looked over to see what he had ran from and there was a businesswoman with her lap covered in vomit. The lad had vomited on her and ran away, leaving her to clean up the mess! She looked utterly incomprehensible, almost at tears. Someone gave her a tissue, and then another, but she was unable to get it all off her skin. We found in our backpack some wet wipes, and gave her the whole packet, which she gratefully took. And then 5 minutes later, we arrived in Ueno, sure that we had just witnessed a Japanese man try to commit suicide on our train.
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