I did it! A train ride all by myself, with two kiddos and multiple transfers. The trains give me anxiety but I think it’s because they are so foreign to me. I’ve only ridden them a handful of times in San Francisco and New York City. In Japan, I’ve always been with experienced train goers and haven’t had to rely on my own navigation much. I talked to the boys first thing this morning about expectations and reminded them how we behave on the trains. So we got on our first train and since the seats were already filled, I put the boys towards the doors where they could easily hang on to the side rail and rest their backs against the side of the chairs. It’s probably about 30-minutes of standing in one position for them. And then the train starts filling up. A little more at each station until people start backing themselves into the train. And my boys are smooshed. I say a little prayer that nobody falls on them at this point and somehow a little old Japanese woman squeezes between me and the boys so she could hold on the the side rail as well. I quietly remind them about how to behave on a crowded train. And then it starts….
“Stop touching me….Brother! I said not to touch me. MOM BROTHER IS TOUCHING ME!”
Oh my word child! If I didn’t have to stand straight up in this train with my elbows in so I don’t bump my butt into the person standing a few inches away I’d have a talking with you.
So they carried on in the otherwise silent train. The Japanese people started chuckling at the entertainment. I imagine they didn’t know what they were fighting about, or maybe they did. It did look humorous without the audio. While I’m secretly fuming at them for forgetting our little chat right before we got on the train, I noticed most were smiling at me. Possibly feeling sorry for me, but mainly not judging these two small foreign boys on a very crowded train making more noise than they know what to do with.
I have no words of wisdom for times like these. Traveling with young kids is oftentimes frustrating, and embarrassing and sometimes you have to learn to see the humor in the situation and keep moving towards your destination. The moment you begin to get frustrated is the moment the trip stopped being fun. Most will understand. And if they don’t, smile, offer your gomenasai’s (I’m sorry’s) and deal with the behavior when you are able to. All you can do now is to work on having them behave better next time.