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Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 10:03
Is this not the norm?

I noticed that on a very packed subway/train, many young people don't even bother to stand up and offer their seats to the elderly/parent with kids. I once stand up to offer my seat to the the elderly and she refused. Wondering whether its actually considered rude to do so in Japan?
by Bafabifi  

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 12:34
It is definitely not rude to offer your seat to the elderly. Just in a packed train/subway during commuting rush hour in particular, people are just focused on themselves and don't really care.

A few things that I have experienced:
- I got up to offer a seat to an elderly guy, and he said (as my seat was one in the middle of the long 7-seater seat and no hand-pole nearby) thanks but no thanks, because it would be difficult for him to get up later, without the support of the pole.
- I tried to offer a seat to a lady with a baby, and she said thanks but no thanks because the baby stays in a better mood if she is standing and can gently move around/the baby can look outside.

Something I've heard about:
- Someone tried to offer a seat, and the "senior" guy refused it and was upset, because he did not consider himself so old as to be offered a seat!
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 12:36
I cannot specificly answer your question in regards to the elderly. But I have had someone stand and offer a seat to me.

I was once carrying my 11 month old and had a nice near 80yo lady offer her seat to me. I am a 30 something male. It was in the area specified for elderly, pregnant, broken limb section of the train.

I refused her and she insisted. Must have been funny from the outside watching a 30yo man carrying a baby and a 80yo granny having a lost-in-translation bi-lingual disagreement about whom should sit down.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 17:24
Surrendering your seat to an elderly is something that has always been and still is expected in the Japanese society.

Is this not the norm? I noticed that on a very packed subway/train, many young people don't even bother to stand up and offer their seats to the elderly/parent with kids.

Well, I would say, it's because the train was packed. During weekday afternoons when people are more relaxed and less tired, I normally see younger people surrendering their seats to the elderly.

But surrendering seats to parents with kids is a relatively new custom in Japan. Until about a decade or two ago, kids who can walk were expected to stand in trains. People thought it was better for the children's health and education. I think it's becoming more common to surrender seats to small children, though.

I once stand up to offer my seat to the the elderly and she refused. Wondering whether its actually considered rude to do so in Japan?

The elderly has the right to both sit and stand. And as suggested, it would be rude in the sense that they are being seen as someone week and old.

When I offer seats or any kind of help, I just offer it, but I don't insist on it. If I make the offer and the person refuses, I just smile and pretend it didn't happen. The reason I do so is because that was the way I liked it when people used to offer help to me when I was pregnant or carrying my baby (a long time ago). Sometimes I needed help and sometimes I didn't.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 17:49
No rude, No worry that offering is always very good.

Basically most(99.999%) elders feel/think yr offering is "welcome","thanks" usual.
But in packed train will be very difficult getting off if seated.
Just by such a small(?) reason mostly.
(depends on seat position near door or not and passenger amounts)
And also just cannot explain/say true reason well/shrot in EN especially fr foreigner's cases.
(You said in Japanese?)

Also some other reasons exist.
- Just thinking "I'm still young" but no angry a bit not glad "looks so old?".
- Body no good somewhere for sitting/standing mainly waist,hip,knees/leg/foots damaged/pain with usual.
(Somtimes feel "a baby is heavy" in mother case similar reason)
- Came from out of urban city or last taking tain long years ago need to confirm train operating section/position
so would like to keep watching "railway map" or operating info "monitor".
- Just thinking need to escape "comfortable/lazy" from insufficient exercise life.
- By "diabetes?/Aa(tounyou-byou)" or something serious sick reason need enough exercise keep walking mainly.
(Have you ever seen such walking arond man/woman at no packed train passage?)
- Just waiting good scenery or something check item/point coming
would like to see from car window as one of small "my rule"/custom/habit.
- Only in underground train no good scenery would like to read ad.
(train small poster type ad calling "݂L/nakazuri-koukoku")
"ad" provides a lot of newest info for daily life news of service and products mainly
http://www.zassi.net/nakalist.cgi
Also reading "Kanji" good for "Anti-aging" and "vision/eye test" easily.
(Photo also make to think "Who?" for "my memory" out quickly my answer is correct or not)

Baby mom case if baby not sleeping need to watch carefully and must move quickly
if something accident(?) happened. (crying,milk,pee or)

Anyway no need thinking so serious :)
by Remizo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/3 23:46
Unless you're taking a priority seat (which you shouldn't on a packed car anyways), don't even bother with it.

The social expectations in play and the unspoken cues are just too nuanced and complicated to worry about.
by Faiyez rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/4 00:26
The social expectations in play and the unspoken cues are just too nuanced and complicated to worry about.

Let's make it simple then: Your kindness is appreciated.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/4 00:35
The social expectations in play and the unspoken cues are just too nuanced and complicated to worry about.

Thank you for a good laugh, as always. :)
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/4 16:32
Unless you're taking a priority seat (which you shouldn't on a packed car anyways), don't even bother with it.
The social expectations in play and the unspoken cues are just too nuanced and complicated to worry about.


No, its really quite simple. In Japan it is still very much seen as polite to give up your train seat to elderly people, pregnant women, handicapped people, etc. The fact that many young people don't is not due to some unspoken nuance, they are simply being rude or indifferent.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/4 19:15
The fact that many young people don't is not due to some unspoken nuance, they are simply being rude or indifferent.

Or tired from the long commuting/working hours, and to be fair, or because they're shy.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/5 11:42
Or tired from the long commuting/working hours, and to be fair, or because they're shy.

Not trying be too much of a harda$$, so let's say impolite rather than rude. Still, there's not much of a distinction here. These young people are just being tired and impolite or shy and impolite.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/5 13:39
That remark was very much tongue-in-cheek, guys...
by Faiyez rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/6 12:37
Just lack of sensitivity, I think.
by yu (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/6 15:20
That remark was very much tongue-in-cheek, guys...

Better not post at all then. But if you must, please mark it somehow as sarcasm doesn't translate well on the internet. I feel like we've been through this before...
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/6 17:03
many young people don't even bother to stand up and offer their seats to the elderly/parent with kids

Maybe they are in your situation -- offering the seat but was rejected. I had the same experience.

In my city, unless I'm very tired, I'd prefer to give up the seat when an elderly stood in front of me but refused the seat. Either eventually the elderly would take it, or someone else took it.

Out of curiousity, what about empty priority seat? It was a packed train on a weekend but nobody occupied the seats, at least for the 20 minutes trip on Yamanote Line. Will it be considered rude to take the seat?
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/6 19:11
I never hesitate to sit on a priority seat as long as there is one priority seat kept unoccupied.

It might depend on the railway company, but what usually is named "priority seat" (which is a literal translation of "yuusen-seki") is a seat in which its priority should be given to certain passengers. It's not a seat that is completely forbidden to you.

But I do notice that a lot of people healthy feel uncomfortable about sitting on a priority seat, because it sometimes makes you feel guilty or nervous. And many of the challenged people may not have the guts to walk up to you and ask you to surrender your seat, while many disabilities aren't even obvious.

I, however, think it's okay to sit there as long as you are paying attention to your surroundings, and not using your electronic devices.

By the way, priority seats are situated at a place most convenient for the more challenged passengers, so just because all the other seats are unoccupied that doesn't mean you can occupy all the priority seats.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/7 17:06
I'm a "senior" too, but I make it a policy to never sit on a priority seat even if all priority seats are unoccupied.
by divs (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/10 21:28
I'm a "senior" too, but I make it a policy to never sit on a priority seat even if all priority seats are unoccupied.

That is your option, however we should note that that is not how the priority seats are intended to work. Regular passengers are not prohibited from using them, it's just that the elderly, pregnant, those traveling with small children, etc. should be given priority for those seats.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/10 22:10
I think divs was just trying to answer the original question, since the OP seemed to be wondering what may have went wrong. Maybe the OP had encountered someone like divs. And sure that's how the priority seats work: Seniors like divs have the freedom to keep standing even if the seats are all empty.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Giving seat to elderly on the train 2016/9/10 23:22
Fair enough, I prob have been a bit too focused on the later responses.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

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