Instead, I'm going to talk about my commute.
Now, as you may know, there are a lot of trains in Japan. More to the point, there are a lot of people on trains in Japan. In the Tokyo metropolitan area alone, 20 million people use the trains and subways (which, other than -- usually -- going underground, are the same thing. In fact, many of the subway lines actually carry trains from other non-subway, non-JR lines connected to the subway lines). To give that a sense of perspective, the entire country of Germany only has 10 million daily rail passengers, the highest in Europe. And Germany has more than double the population of metro Tokyo (82 to 35 million). Safe to say, there are a lot of people on Tokyo trains, and they're packed in there. I should know, they have the white-gloved station attendants pushing people into the doors at my station during the morning rush hour.
So... Some facts you may not know about Ikebukuro.
People generally think of Tokyo as being the main station in Tokyo (for some obvious reasons). And it is the main hub, especially for long distance travelers, since that's where the Tokaido Shinkansen (Osaka-Tokyo) meets the JR East Shinakansen lines (Nagano, Joetsu, Yamagata, Tohoko, and Akita lines -- not as busy, any of them, but more of them). By number of trains, it's the busiest in Japan, but by passengers, it only rates as the fifth busiest station on JR East (the dominant rail carrier in Tokyo, although there are a number of other major carriers), and thirteenth busiest on the Tokyo Metro. Yokohama actually edges it out for the number four spot on JR East.
And then people think of Shinjuku station. And on JR East, it does carry about a third more passengers than Ikebukuro at number two. Of course, my station, Ikebukuro, carries more than double the passengers as Shinjuku via the Tokyo Metro, where it's only the sixth busiest station in the network. Combined JR and Metro, Ikebukuro actually has more passengers. Ikebukuro is my primary transfer point; I switch from the Seibu Ikebukuro line to the JR there.
That's one thing you should know about my commute.
Of course, there are other carriers besides the Tokyo Metro and JR East. And when those are taken into account, Shinjuku does retake the lead, with 3.67 million passengers per day, about a third of which are on non-JR, non-Metro carriers. Of course, I transfer trains in that station, too.
That's the other thing you should know about my commute.
Just for good measure, after nabbing the busiest train station in the world and the second busiest train station in Tokyo (possibly the world, but don't actually know, at a mere 2.71 million passengers), I also get number seven, Takadanobaba, for good measure (although after those, it's hard to notice a mere nine hundred thousand people). In fact, just by riding around the Yamanote line, you can get seven of the top eight (only missing Yokohama at number four, behind Shibuya -- that eight-station stretch of the Yamanote loop on the west side is busy). You might actually be hitting the next few busiest stations, too, but the list I had only went to eight.
This is one of the main reasons I'm going to be moving somewhere else next semester.