May 28, 2013

The Morning Rush Hour


I often hear how awful the morning commute on the train is in Tokyo.

And it's probably true. We have a whole bunch of trains and subways and most of them are super packed during rush hour in the morning. I've experienced it first hand. (Although I tend to kind of enjoy the excitement of squeeeeeeezing onto a train and not being able to breathe, while having 10+ people practically piled on top of you as the train moves at an unbelievably slow pace...!)

But we have a saying in Japan that goes "Ue-ni-wa Ue-ga Aru (上には上がある)." Not sure how to translate that in English...but it's something along the lines of "there's always a bigger fish" kind of meaning. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

And I found it in Mexico.

Spanish photographer Héctor Mediavilla took these amazing photos of the morning rush hour in the subways in Mexico. Look at that crowd! I especially like the photo below of the people trying to get off the train and the people trying to stay inside. 

Makes me glad I can walk to work :D




4 comments:

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    1. Isn't it? The chaos must be fantastic...although I'm sure not so much if you're late to an appointment! ;-)

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  2. Seeing this maybe you felt kind of like I did when I met a Japanese pro-volleyball player who was taller than I am. やっぱり「上には上がある」。This site has a translation as: “Superiors have others above them.” But your: “There’s always a bigger fish,” works really well. Good imagery. How about: “For every mountain you climb there is always a higher mountain. And if you conquer Everest there’s always the moon.” (And once there’s the moon... it’s infinite). So, to verify the Japanese proverb 「上には上がある」(the original Japanese is much better, isn’t it?) maybe the moon landing was essential. In my case actually I felt relieved. It gave me a chance to be able to say (or at least think to myself): “C’mon, gimme a break. I’m not all that outstanding. In fact, I met a Japanese guy taller than me. Now, he”s tall! And Japanese.”

    It is becoming obvious that we, as humanity, are increasingly developing a one-world, one-culture, international society. Looking at these photos I am not so sure that is a good thing. But Babzy, in her wisdom, said this with one word. She is way above me!

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    1. That is a fantastic example, Tall Gary! It's probably hard to translate into English because you need to have a certain noun, whereas in Japanese you don't need one and it can refer to everything in a broader sense.

      I think it really is important to remember that 上には上がある. It helps us to stay humble and like in your case, gives us relief at times. I heard somewhere the the Jews always cover their heads before entering a synagogue for that same reason, that there is a greater power above them. I thought that was interesting :-D

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