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Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:40 pm
by cwerdna
Came across http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/po ... pan-trains in my Facebook feed the other day. They wrote "It's all part of a Japanese-innovated industrial safety method known as pointing-and-calling—a system that reduces workplace errors by up to 85 percent."

Interesting. I've visited Japan 5x for vacation and definitely noticed the pointing and gestures by train workers and didn't know why, until now. And, I didn't know it went on in the "cockpit"/cab.

Digging a bit on YouTube, I found videos like at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wH41Q6n_MY. The driver/engineer is pointing at parts of the control panel at 0:57 and speed checks at 2:47 and 2:50. At 7:17, the train reaches 270 km/h or ~168 mph. Man... I miss Japan.

The guy in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpkrIu2p_iM (from the bottom of the article) is doing point and call quite loudly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmdUz3rOQU has a whole bunch of examples of the engineer/driver pointing but his voice may not be as audible.

I found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGfl_EX8E8o, but the guy who made the video didn't know the reason/motivation behind the pointing + talking to himself.

I found some more background info at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2008/1 ... r-gestures.

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:45 am
by mwalsh
Haha! Randomly pointing at stuff and yelling sounds like it would be a great prank to pull on the locals. With any luck, I'll be in Tokyo for my first visit around this time next year and can give it a try. :D

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:03 am
by Durandal
Seeing those train videos makes me long for returning to Japan for a long visit. I visited for 2 weeks back in 2008, and it gives me memories as fond as Disney World. Which, BTW, I did go to Disney Sea while I was there, which was a doubly fun thing, combining the awesomeness of Disney World with the awesomeness of Japanese people being the main attendees.

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:59 am
by SageBrush
I routinely talk out loud when I am working though a problem. Sometimes I even yell.

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:11 am
by mwalsh
Durandal wrote:Seeing those train videos makes me long for returning to Japan for a long visit. I visited for 2 weeks back in 2008, and it gives me memories as fond as Disney World. Which, BTW, I did go to Disney Sea while I was there, which was a doubly fun thing, combining the awesomeness of Disney World with the awesomeness of Japanese people being the main attendees.


As the spouse of a retired Disney cast member, it is kind of disappointing that we have to pay full price to go into the parks operated under license. I'd really only go in as part of a quest to maybe visit all the properties worldwide (so far we've done Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, and the Disney Cruise Line).

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:30 pm
by cwerdna
mwalsh wrote:I'll be in Tokyo for my first visit around this time next year

Can you move your trip earlier to make it to Tokyo Motor Show?

Per http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/outline/, 1st general public day is Oct 28, 2017. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until 2019.

I posted about it at viewtopic.php?t=20720 and viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6834&p=150935.

Go go go!

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:15 pm
by mwalsh
cwerdna wrote:Can you move your trip earlier to make it to Tokyo Motor Show?

Per http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/outline/, 1st general public day is Oct 28, 2017. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until 2019.

I posted about it at viewtopic.php?t=20720 and viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6834&p=150935.

Go go go!



Afraid not, if we do go our dates will be dictated by the sailing date of a cruise ship.

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:18 pm
by cwerdna
mwalsh wrote:Afraid not, if we do go our dates will be dictated by the sailing date of a cruise ship.

Then it sounds like you need to make two trips there. ;)

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:45 am
by Durandal
mwalsh wrote:
Durandal wrote:Seeing those train videos makes me long for returning to Japan for a long visit. I visited for 2 weeks back in 2008, and it gives me memories as fond as Disney World. Which, BTW, I did go to Disney Sea while I was there, which was a doubly fun thing, combining the awesomeness of Disney World with the awesomeness of Japanese people being the main attendees.


As the spouse of a retired Disney cast member, it is kind of disappointing that we have to pay full price to go into the parks operated under license. I'd really only go in as part of a quest to maybe visit all the properties worldwide (so far we've done Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, and the Disney Cruise Line).


Amazingly, a 1 day ticket to Disney Sea was 5800 yen, which was less than I paid to see a European heavy metal band play while I was in Tokyo. I'm sure the prices are higher now, but I was surprised how inexpensive it was compared to everything else in Tokyo. (I paid 11000 yen for my portion of a karaoke bar visit with 4 other people I had met. Two from Norway, and two residents of Tokyo.) Funny story, I met the Norwegians at a bar not far from me in the Ginza district, they invited me to go to the metal show, where we met a lovely couple who were local, who invited us out for karaoke.

Re: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:23 am
by mwalsh
Durandal wrote:Amazingly, a 1 day ticket to Disney Sea was 5800 yen


You're right, I just looked - it would be $128 for the both of us for each park, which isn't bad compared to Disneyland prices at all. If we happen to be there over a weekend, we could also get Starlight passports (only valid on weekends/holidays after 3pm), and those would be just shy of $100 for the both of us, each park.