Take the stairs if you want to walk

I am writing to address the three online comments written on Aug. 23 in response to the Aug. 19 editorial “Wanted: better escalator manners.”

First, let me explain that a few years back, I spent six months working in this city with a serious back injury. It reduced my agility to that of a 90-year-old man, for reasons much too complicated to explain here. I was in constant, excruciating pain, and it was more comfortable for me to stand on the right of the escalator, leaning to the right.

I was punched in the back, hit on the shoulders, and intentionally bumped into. People tried to walk through me, and I was verbally abused. I came to realize just how selfish and inconsiderate many Tokyo people are.

It is all about the promotion of good manners and consideration for other people. What right do some people think they have to dictate to others where to stand on an escalator just so they can walk? If they want to walk, use the stairs, which are usually empty, anyway.

Escalators are for the elderly, mothers with children, people with large bags and suitcases and the injured. It is not a staircase, it is a step to stand on. Stairs are for the healthy. You all need to walk a mile in another man’s shoes.

matsudo, chiba prefecture

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • beeblebrox

    Escalators – at least those in public places – are a public convenience the
    use of which everyone is entitled, the able bodied as well as the physically
    challenged. They are not restricted, neither by design nor by law, to “the
    elderly, mothers with children, people with large bags and suitcases and the
    injured.” The rules of traffic in Japan are that you keep to the left and
    pass on the right. If more than one lane of passage is available, the slower
    traffic keeps to the left, the faster to the right. This pertains to pedestrians as well, since pedestrians are also traffic. I suggest that people who stand on the right side of an escalator without moving are themselves inconsiderate of others, like a passenger on commuter trains occupying two spaces on the bench with her shopping bags, or his widely-splayed feet. In fact, they don’t seem to understand the rules of traffic, which makes them a public nuisance, poorly educated, and possibly illiterate as well. If you are slow, or if you want or need to move slowly then keep to the left everywhere. Of course, Japan brims with people who occupy the center of a public way like a sidewalk or an escalator blithely oblivious to their surroundings. This obliviousness is a common failing here. The idea of being physically in the way of others doesn’t seem to register. Consider, for example, friends walking together, slowly and abreast of each other down the sidewalk, effectively blocking it to all others.

    The question has already been raised on this escalator topic Why do people need to be told where to stand and how to move? I think, especially in Japan, people want to be told what to think and how to behave. Maybe because it lifts responsibility for decisions from the individual. This desire creates the need as people are passive by default. Sometimes you need silly rules to keep your silly sheep in the silly herd. It’s sad, but there it is.