The Train Warrior

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Posted 01 Oct 2006 in Only in Japan, Tokyo, Travel, Work

Obaasan WarriorOn Wednesday I witnessed my first ever train fight, although it turned out to be somewhat different from how I imagined; which was something along the lines of two guys going at it using finely-tuned ju-jitsu techniques to defend the honour of their briefcases and ¥300 neckties. But anyway, allow me to indulge you…

As per usual Ayako and myself had managed to get a seat on the train (our station is the first stop, so it’s just a matter of waiting for the next train to arrive and then legging it on board to get a seat), and I was trying not to fall asleep. Ayako has to change trains a couple of stops before me, and after she and a few others disembarked all hell broke loose:

A middle aged woman had been patiently waiting to board the train and was first in line to get on, but!… behind her stood a complete tosser of a guy – no older than thirty, typical junior salaryman suit and demeanour – who was absolutely determined to get a seat, AT ANY COST.

Middle Aged Woman sensed the presence of a challenger as she boarded the train, and spied a free seat opposite my position. Junior Salaryman leapt onto the train, side-stepping Middle Aged Woman in an attempt to sit down first. Unfortunately both of them went for exactly the same seat, at the same time, which looked a lot like two highly competitive eight year olds playing musical chairs.

Middle Aged Woman had clearly had enough of dickheads pushing in front of her and, quick as a flash, stood up and elbowed the guy in the head. And when I say elbowed, I don’t mean in a “oh I’m so sorry” kind of way, this was a professional, advanced street fighting-style manouvre. Junior Salaryman looked, well, pretty shocked to say the least, but before he had a chance to say anything Middle Aged Woman decided to give him a few punches to the temple. Junior Salaryman’s legs flicked up in an attempt to shield himself from the blows, while all I could do was stare gormlessly at the two of them (well, what was I supposed to do?).

Eventually an older guy came and broke it up. Amazingly it was Middle Aged Woman who moved to a different carriage. Junior Salaryman, after rearranging his now deshevelled suit, pretended to sleep for the rest of the journey. I wanted to ask “how does it feel to be decked by a grandma?”, but my Japanese skills don’t stretch that far.

So, let that be a warning to you. When in Japan, DO NOT MESS WITH THE OLD WOMEN.

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