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Being a student at an American university in Tokyo, I often have the opportunity to talk with foreign students who are living in Japan for the first time. These conversations frequently include the oft-heard complaints about commuting via the capital’s extensive rail system.

Anyone who has lived here for even a short period has heard these laments, and perhaps felt the same way: “The trains are too crowded,” “People shouldn’t stand in front of the doors,” “I hate being squished” and so on.

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