Yubisashi Kakunin: It’s Polite to Point I Discover Off-beat Japan

Sep 6, 2023 | Technology, Videos

In Japan, ‘finger pointing’ is more than just a figure of speech. It is an essential part of the country’s security checks that help keep trains running smoothly and on time. This choreography of gestures involves the conductor standing at the door of a train car and gesturing to passengers while counting down from five to zero with their fingers. This practice has become so ingrained in Japanese culture that it has been documented in foreign films and is featured prominently in “Finger Pointing Train,” a documentary about the process.

The documentary shows how finger pointing has become so deeply entrenched in everyday life within Japan, offering insight into its symbolic significance. The symbolic gesture not only marks the beginning of each journey but also serves as a reminder to be mindful about safety during travel. As well as providing an efficient way to check tickets, it also allows passengers to get on and off trains quickly and safely.

By pointing his or her finger in a rhythmic fashion, the conductor can remind passengers to remain aware of their surroundings and keep their belongings close at all times whilst ensuring that everyone gets on board without delay. Moreover, this method also helps ensure that no one is left behind as each stop passes by – something which would be difficult for a single person to do without guidance from the conductor.

Beyond transportation regulations, finger pointing has also come to signify respect for others; it is seen as a way for people to show consideration towards each other by greeting them with an expressionless gesture instead of words. Indeed, this subtle action conveys much more than meets the eye and offers an alternative way for people to communicate non-verbally in order to maintain order and promote safety amongst commuters.

If you’re interested in learning more about how finger pointing works and what it means within Japanese culture, then you should definitely check out “Finger Pointing Train” – a captivating documentary which delves deeper into this unique phenomenon through interviews with railway conductors, passengers, academics from various universities plus much more!

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David B