First prize winner in Black & White Photography Issue 178
This is a photographic journey on the Tokyo Metro, taking you from the driver and passengers on a train, to the ticket gate at Nihonbashi station. A particular focus is the close proximity to yet total separation of the driver and the passengers.
The Tokyo Metro has a well deserved reputation for being akin to a game of sardines during the rush hour. These pictures were taken during quieter times where the drivers drive, making a series of instantly recognisable hand signals, demonstrating their observation of various safety matters by pointing where they are looking (dials, gauges, doors, platform and the way ahead), while the passengers are invariably either asleep or buried in their mobile phones.
The hustle and bustle at the ticket gates is endless, even during quiet times. Passengers move single mindedly to their platforms without any consideration for others; an experience which contradicts a foreigner’s impression of Japan prior to experiencing it themselves. That aside, everyone queues up between the lines indicating where to wait to board a train. There is little talking while almost everyone focus on those ubiquitous mobile phones.
In control – the driver sits to attention, ready to check the passengers and close the doors at exactly the scheduled time.
Driver does the pointing thing – yes, the way ahead is clear!
On the train – keeping yourself to yourself… and your phone friends.
Metro driver – Focused, prepared and ever demonstrating discipline and routine.
Through the kaisatsu – a quiet time at Nihonbashi station.