What do you mean, of course we wait for fellow commuters to exit before boarding a train. And cutting in line – it’s been so long since we saw anyone do it, we’ve forgotten what the appropriate punishment should be.
Altough tourists never tire of raving about the politeness of Tokyoites, residents of our dear city usually tend to take decent behaviour for granted. This implicitly shared sense of good manners, born out of necessity in a city of 13.5 million inhabitants (and over 20 million more around it), has to be one of the things we love most about Tokyo.
Looking to encourage Tokyoites to be proud of their civility and urban wits, the new Tokyo Good Manners Project held its first info session on Tuesday this week. Composed of movers and shakers from a range of industries and organisations – including Time Out Tokyo, for full disclosure – this undertaking is intended to promote Tokyoites’ impeccable public conduct as an example to be followed, and will highlight not only noteworthy acts and norms but also people and things that embody good manners in Tokyo.
At the presser, Time Out Tokyo president Hiroyuki Fushitani mentioned Shibuya’s scramble crossing as a place where commendable behaviour can be witnessed every time the traffic lights change to green. ‘Hordes of people cross from every direction, but hardly anyone bumps into you. Tourists watch this spectacle in awe, but for Tokyoites it’s an unconscious thing – being aware of your fellow citizens, that is’.
In addition to plugging Tokyo as the best-behaved big city on Earth, the Tokyo Good Manners Project is set to work with corporations, universities and other players to further improve our mega-town’s social infrastructure. Sure sounds like a goal every Tokyoite can get behind – as long as they don’t start heaping too much praise on us. That wouldn’t be very polite, would it?