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Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 05:21
We are traveling in Japan with our 1.5yr old and I am so disappointed to say that most of the time, no one gets up for us (baby in my arms).
Yesterday, an old lady gave us her seat - I had almost tipped over holding baby.
Is this normal? Should I ask them for a seat (them being young 20 yr olds)? Or should I suck it up and this is how it is in Japan? We are not traveling during rush hour but the trains are still packed (not to the point where were all stuck to each other).
Also, I'm basically in their face holding my baby, in the area where it shows on the window to give priority seating to kids, old folks, handicapped etc.
by Pookie (guest)  

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 10:45
Is this normal?

Unfortunately it happens a lot that people in priority seats do not get up for the people the seats are intended for. But it is not considered normal. It is considered bad manners.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 13:05
Use priority seat first.
Young people don't intend to give you a seat. This is because they don't have a kid, therefore they don't know how tired you are.
The old lady who gave you a seat is very rare. Those old ladies demand priority seats while they are feeding babies but they forget after their babies are grown. This natural behavior of ladies.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 17:30
It is surprizing that even non peak hour trains were packed. Around heavy use area, yes. But should be the case for all trains you rode on.

Also surprizing that no one in the priority seating areas didn't offer you a seat. Although my understanding of the unwritten etiquette/protocol is that you need to ask these days.

My last trip in Japan I was lucky enough to have passengers offer seats in both the priority and regular seats. On a daily basis. Was carrying a 11mo in a baby carrier.

Once between Shinjuku and Shibuya, an near 80yo lady offered up her seat for my wife carrying our bub. Wife refused the 80yo for obvious reasons. The 80yo refused to take no for an answer. My wife speaks little Japanese. The 80yo spoke little English. The anti-bi-lingual battle of the ages followed on whom should sit down. Funny stuff.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 18:36
Try the priority seat. There it is simply ok to ask for a seat if someone obviously young and in good shape is seated. Around "regular" seating, unfortunately young people don't give up their seats for the elderly, pregnant, or those with a baby unless someone is obviously struggling.

In the past I have offered seats to moms holding their babies, and at times they said thanks but no, because, they said, the baby stayed in a better mood when the mom was standing (I guess the baby got to see some views).
by ....... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 20:47
What is priority seat? Is this where there is the sign for handicapped/baby and mom/elders? Because that's where I've been standing!!

Anyway, that was Tokyo.

Today I am in Osaka (Umeda to Namba), and again no one offered me a seat. I was holding my 22lb baby. I almost fell a couple of times even with my hubby holding me and with one of my hands holding on to the hand hoops. Yeah, not impressed at all.
by Pookie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/2 21:34
Yes, that's what priority seats are. And back to your original question, you have every right to ask for a seat, although frankly I've never seen anyone asking for one. But I'm sure that at least it works better at priority seats.

Of course, keep in mind that just because they look young, that doesn't mean that all of them are not disabled although not obviously. I also think that it has to do with the fact that touristic locations are, unfortunately, the same as commercial districts where young people tend to get tired from commuting and work.

This thread is just for reference.
http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+149336
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 09:19
Ask for someone to give up priority seat. Otherwise people will assume you do not need the seat. Every time I have asked someone to move for one of my guests, for different reasons, they have shifted.

I frequently offer my seat for people and am turned down because they are only going a single stop or two.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 13:53
Is this normal? Should I ask them for a seat (them being young 20 yr olds)? Or should I suck it up and this is how it is in Japan

I understand your stress but to generalize that "this is how it is in Japan" is unfair. If the train is packed on non-rush hour, they might be fellow tourists. Also, this can happen in any countries with train/subway system. I agree with the above suggestions to ask for the seat.
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 15:01
FYI they were not tourists (people sitting down). They were people going to work. It's kinda obvious who's a tourist and who's not.

I'm not generalizing. Just disappointed it's happened so often that no one offered us a seat. Today, a tourist offered us a seat while the other Japanese folks were on their phones.
by Pookie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 17:01
Just because people look normal, doesn't mean they are not entitled to occupy a priority seat. There are many illnesses and disabilities that you can not see, so don't be too quick to judge or expect someone to give up their seat.

I still suggest you ask - in Japanese. Second option, ask loudly and tell them they are not entitled to sit there - point at the sign if you don't have the language. Making them embarrassed in front of other commuters should help get a seat if you need it.
(btw, this scenario made some great tv a few weeks back/)
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 17:34
Just give em a big 'SUMIMASEN' with 'the look' and point to the priority sign.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/3 19:58
Not generalizing and seriously, it's near impossible that everyone in the priority seat is disabled somehow (and all look normal). It's more that they're too busy on their phones (yes they do see me with a kid).

It's more disappointment than anger.
by Pookie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/5 03:32
I wish I can give you an answer to your question, from what I can see you only have two options. 1 play the rudely foreigner card give them the look of death and say 'SUMIMASEN' and point at the priority sign. 2nd if your husband with you have him play the bad guy and have him tell them to get up for you.

@dotdotdot, very funny I agree with you
by Guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/5 06:28
I find it a very weird story. Not discounting the truth of it all. But I have never had the same issues.

But...

There are many train lines in Japan, and I have not traveled them all. I have friends in western Tokyo that claim certain a X line of X rail company have rude customers etc pushers, yellers etc. While other lines are free from these.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/5 09:00
Unfortunately this is an all too common scenario these days, especially if you are travelling during commute hours. It's just one of the situations where the stereotype of the ultrapolite Japanese is, well, just a stereotype.

In my experience (travelling with small children on crowded trains in Japan) it helps to ask if you can sit down or squeeze onto a crowded priority seat. People will often stop pretending not to notice you once you address them directly (well maybe not directly to one passenger in particular, but to the entire bench).

You could also try the non-priority seats as there are more of them, more turnover, and more chances for a kind person to give up their seat for you. One final strategy, on a crowded train start looking for seats just before arriving to the next station. People will start getting up and spaces will open up. You can almost always get a seat within 2-3 stops this way.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/5 09:36
Thanks /yllwsmrf. You are right.

It hasn't happened to us just once but several times. I've given up and told myself it's just the norm, no big deal. It's also happened in Osaka more than once and the trains were a bit more bumpy there. Oh well.
by Pookie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/24 11:30
I had the same experience. Even when my wife was in the late stage of pregnancy no one offered their seats. Last time when I was holding our baby an older guy was offering his seat and I really felt sorry about that, since I think he also needed the seat. It's a real shame and I do not understand what young Japanese people are thinking. Even me who is usually to lazy to stand and even wait for one more train or taking local train instead of express just to sit, always give up my seat when I see someone in need.

I think it also depends where you live, when we were in Osaka, we got a seat offered quite often, I think people from Kansai are far more direct when they say something (which I appreciate), but also tend to have better manners. At least according to my experiences and I am quite often in Osaka, since my wife's parents live there.
by City Hunter (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/24 23:34
The other day, a middle-age man on a Tokyo train noticed a pregnant woman standing and gestured to offer his seat. The woman gestured thanks and the man stood up.

Just then, a young man sat on that offered seat! He seemed to be so focused on his smartphone that he didn't understand what was going on at all. He probably just noticed legs leaving from a seat and assumed someone was getting off the train.

The middle-age man and pregnant woman stood there in shock for a moment, until another young woman watching the whole thing offered her seat to the pre-mom. The kid just kept using his smartphone without knowing any of it.

It was a nice gesture among the three Japanese people, but I wish someone could've told the kid about it. I usually do, but I was too far from them in the crowded train.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Getting a seat on the train? 2016/10/25 05:57
Terrible story with a nice ending. Thanks for sharing. At least someone else had enough manners to fix this situation.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

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