Eye-to-eye on the Tokyo Metro
When you’re riding on the Tokyo Metro, there’s a good chance the other people on the train are either staring at their phones or sleeping.
I kind of understand the phone thing, since I’m one of those people who can’t go very long without checking his phone. However, in Japan, checking phones rises to another level. On any given subway car that I was on last week, it seemed that at least half the people in the car had their phones out.
My guess is that the phones and sleeping (or at least closing your eyes) is an easy way to avoid making eye contact with fellow passengers. I’ve read that, in general, the Japanese avoid making direct eye contact with strangers. That seemed to be the case when we were there last week and during our trip to Tokyo in the summer.