While this makes rail transportation easy and convenient for Tokyo residents, the 34,000 level rail crossings (踏切, fumikiri) in Tokyo can make for some long waits for motorist, cyclists and pedestrians alike.
One member of the prominent Japanese Internet meme-sharing community Matome Naver has curated a popular post about Tweets people send out while waiting for the train go by that captures different people's takes on one of the capital's most widely-shared experiences.
So, how was your train wait today?
Some people take to reporting unusual or amusing things they see while waiting for the train to pass.
— 監物大吉 (@daikichi_waniru) April 19, 2014
At the crossing waiting for the train to go by. People are lined up quite politely behind a horse.
Waiting for the level crossing gates to pull back up gives some a chance to observe their surroundings more closely.
— ぺろり (@peroringa) January 11, 2015
Waiting for the train, I see a cat appear by my side…
Others choose to escape the mundanity by diving into a book.
— yagawa shunsuke (@yasnsk) November 11, 2013
The train schedules have converged in a perfect storm and the level crossing gates haven't opened in over 15 minutes. So I'm just reading a book.
And others engage in people-watching.
— 大久保樹 (のアカウント) (@OTsatellite) June 19, 2012
There's a train stopped near the level crossing, so the crossing gate has descended. There's an old guy passing the time by practicing karate chops on the flags of the gate.
— ナミ (@namisono97) March 6, 2015
Someone is practicing her squats while waiting for the train to go by.
Attempts to bypass this common and time-consuming obstacle are often more hassle than waiting.
— とーかい@砂糖漬 (@letexptokai) June 27, 2012
The level crossing gates are down, so I thought I would take a detour. However I failed miserably and now I have scraped my toes. I guess I should just not try to climb over a wall next time.
— もりもり (@morimori2Secret) August 19, 2011
Usually whenever I have to wait at this level crossing, I try taking a detour along a slightly longer route. And I get lost every time.
Sometimes people encounter rare trains:
赤ラピートktkr!!! (＠地元の踏切) 都会に出るのに携帯を家に忘れて取りに戻ったが故の偶然の出会い^^* pic.twitter.com/4QKPHjP2dY
— 松★スピード！ (@akko_35) May 8, 2014
Wow, it's the Red Rapide (at the level crossing near my house)! I was planning to go into town and I realized I forgot my phone… And by chance I saw this train!
Some people have the opportunity to observe the beauty that surrounds them.
はっけんした＼( ‘ω’)／ pic.twitter.com/yaXtq0xgeD
— ゆき (@aoyaaaa56) December 16, 2013
It's morning, I'm waiting at the crossing and I discover this cute paw print.
Yesterday I saw a rainbow above the level train crossing.
More Tweets (in Japanese) can be read here.