TV: World’s Busiest Train Station (2013)

World'sBusiest_TrainStation_2Language: English and dubbed-over Japanese
Length: 45 minutes
Watched on: 28 April 2014

My friend wrote about this Channel 5 documentary recently (you can find his more detailed account of the program here). Basically Japan has all of the busiest railway stations in the world, and Shinjuku tops the list.

The documentary basically follows a day in the life of Shinjuku station, starting with the night-time cleaning, then the employees getting up out of special capsule hotels within the station complex at 4am in order to get the station operational in time for the first trains. It follows one employee around, a guy called Tomoaki, whose name the narrator consistently gets wrong (he keeps saying Tomoki or Tomaki) – I should have thought they could have at least done enough basic research to get him to say it properly. His pronunciation of Shinjuku also sounds strange, but to be fair, is better than the attempts made by many foreigners who actually live here.

There were certain details that I would have done differently – for example, it’s not adequately explained that part of the reason that Shinjuku is the busiest station is because it’s the terminus of two major private commuter lines as well as JR. It does at least mention the subway, although it falsely paints Shinjuku as a “hub” of the metro lines, which I wouldn’t say is quite true. It also seems to imply that Shinjuku’s employees work inhumane 20-hour days and never go home. I’m sure dramatization factored in at some point, since they wanted to keep the same guy to follow round the station from morning to night…

There were a few things I didn’t know already, such as the morning ritual of reciting the company motto, or the gas attack that happened in the 90s, which I’d only vaguely heard about before. There was also a segment about the earthquake of three years back, which was mildly interesting given that I wasn’t here at the time.

An interesting way to waste 45 minutes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: