We stand in line, it’s not because we like doing it but this is manner
Every morning in the larger cities of Japan, trains are crowded with people going to work. Is it the same in your city? Despite the overflowing of people on the platforms, there isn’t any disorder because everyone lines up in an orderly fashion and nobody cuts in line or makes a fuss. Why do the Japanese line up so calmly despite everyone being in a rush in the morning?
It’s because this is nothing new for the Japanese commuter and is a fact of everyday life that everyone accepts. Occasionally there are children that throw fits and try to disarrange the line, but the parents discipline them on the spot by saying, “Behave yourself and stand in line.” My Japanese friends say that, not only their parents, but also their teachers have always taught them to neatly form lines under these circumstances. It most likely became a natural habit for them since childhood and also represents polite behavior practiced by Japanese people. Making neat lines and waiting their turn for the train shows consideration for others and is a respectable and admired cultural custom.
The Japanese people’s consideration for others was a popular topic during the Great East Japan Earthquake. People were all composed and polite when they lined up to wait their turn for the public telephones and the food and water distributions after the earthquake. In most other countries, the reaction to this was surprising and impressive, but to the Japanese it was normal behavior.
You can see these lines in large stations such as Shinjuku Station and Ueno Station during rush hour at 8 A.M. as well as lines at ATMs and lottery ticket booths. If you feel that this is a wonderful custom to have, please tell your friends about it in your country.