Circle Lines | Yamanote Line, Tokyo

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Sometimes when I'm travelling, I like to simply sit on a train and watch people near me, places passing by. And what better way to do this than on a circular, loop line.

I like to think that a circular line brings you a 360° view of a place (it's not always the case, but it's a nice idea).

This is the first in a semi-regular series of posts on circular travelling -so if there's a circular loop line where I am, I'll get on board!

Years ago when I visited Tokyo, I spent a few hours travelling around on the Yamanote line.

It's a circular line travelling through most of the major stations in Tokyo, including Ginza, Shibuya and Shinjuku.

As I sat on the train, I took notes of sights I saw and sounds I heard and revelled in the people-watching.

I saw:
  • Green stripes on platform to show where to stand
  • A girl with purple and gold bag and gold shoes
  • The five people opposite me lined up, all asleep
  • A chorus of polyphonic music greeted us at every station
  • Outside offices, and lots of them
  • Huge concrete faceless skyscraper structures at Akihabara
  • A MUJI warehouse
  • A pyramid covered in sparkling lights at Yurakucho
  • Passengers reading books with non-descriptmd plain covers: beige or plain white, some with very simple patterns.
  • The station Mamamatsucho pronunced differently in English and Japanese
  • The monorail to Haneda airport flying over the metro line 
  • A tiny dog in a woman's handbag. She's been on the train for 6 stops ago, before I had noticed
  • Nobody else seems to noticed the dog
  • A grown man reading a comic, showing the words "Here's the world War 1 flying ace returning to the aerodrome"
  • Lots of snorting and sniffing sounds
  • At Ebisu station, the man next to me sleeps and slumps against me
  • A guy whispering into his phone
  • As the train continues around, the dog starts to bark lightly. The woman holds its mouth.
  • The man next to me then notices the dog and pets it
  • A poster in station declares: "Never stop the explaining!"
  • At Osuka station, a man tucks his (dry) umbrella into his trousers. It's half genius, half weird.