Monday, 16 March 2009

Please Do It No More

Here is the final installment of the Tokyo Metro's "Please do it at..." manners poster series. And, like the Green-eyed Geisha, I'm not impressed.

She comments that the poster looks like a instruction manual for how to dispose of your tissue on the train. I agree. Is the poster trying to get people to stop dropping tissues on the train? (Something I've never seen happen on a Japanese train anywhere) Or they are saying that it is acceptable to drop your garbage on the ground if it is your own home?

At first I thought it might be a commentary on nose blowing in general, as it wasn't all that long ago that it was considered impolite to blow your nose in public in Japan, and people would go to all sorts of lengths to hide nose blowing (the most common, of course, being constant sniffling, a habit that is one of my father's biggest pet peeves, and something he trained out of me only to see me pick it up again after coming to Japan). People would often leave the room and go to the bathroom to blow their nose in private, and I heard stories of Japanese guys being disgusted when the gorgeous blond foreign woman they were idolizing blew her nose right in front of them. While ideas such as these appear to have been disappearing, and it is no longer uncommon to see people blowing their noses in public, it still more common for people to sniffle their way through a runny nose.

This is a month of duds, as Tobu's fairy tale inspired manner poster had me scratching my head.

The fairy tale was obvious, Aladdin and and the Genie are immediately recognizable. Instead of coming out of a lamp, however, the Genie appears to be issuing from Aladdin's cigarette, as a poor damsel coughs and attempts to wave smoke from her face. I don't understand what the message has to do with Aladdin. Don't get me wrong, however, I'm COMPLETELY behind the message of the poster, that all Tobu stations are non-smoking. I'm also very excited that JR stations in Tokyo will be also going smoke free. I take JR most days and the entrance I use has me at one end of the platform, the one with the women's only car in the rush hours of the morning, and the smoking corner for the rest of the day. I am thrilled that as of April 1 I am going to be able to stand there without having to avoid the dozen or so suits puffing away as if their lives depended on the nicotine.


  1. :) people often say that you only become aware of some of your own personal traits when you live by yourself overseas.

    one of mine,in Japan, happens to be that i try and blend in as much as possible. i think it comes with being a 6ft tall blondish gaijin - i so obviously stick out and above everyone that i try and blend in with actions.

    thus, i cannot blow my nose in public anymore!!! even when i went home to south africa, i was like , `what on EARTH is he DOING in PUBLIC?!`

    it`s sad of me :p

  2. Sarah - I know what you mean! When I go to Canada my father bugs me constantly about blowing my nose - just like when I was four years old! I don't even know I'm sniffling, but it drives him to distraction.