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Having returned to Japan nearly five years ago — after living in the United States for 15 years — I was wondering why the Japanese generally lacked courtesy on the train when it came to yielding their seats to elders, pregnant women or people with small children. In the U.S., gentlemen yielded seats to women sometimes regardless of a woman’s age. Surely the reason was differences in upbringing and culture, I thought. I was so turned off by the behavior of the Japanese, especially the men.

Despite my naivete, I finally realized that I should not blame them. I know now that the poor Japanese working environment is the worst enemy.

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