Shinakshen

Japan is a country well known for admiration and deep respect for tradition. Almost no country or community can match the level of discipline, humility and integrity as those of the people from the land of the rising sun. Known for creating some of the greatest inventions across various platforms, the Shinkansen is a record-breaking high-speed bullet train that operates in Tokyo since 1964. It is known for ferrying numerous passengers during peak hours and extremely vital for the functioning of Japan’s economy.

Any Mumbaikar might revel in pride hearing that as he or she has travelled by the suburban local trains that form the very heartbeat of Mumbai city. In four different sections that according to figures spans over 450 kilometres and ferries nearly 10 million people to and fro every single day. However, there is a vast difference between the conditions, quality and of course speed. While time is an important factor for everyone, the way it is put to use is starkly contrasting in both nations. India’s ‘chalta hai’ (basically acceptance of mediocrity) attitude is one of the main reasons why there is lack of progress, cleanliness, discipline and many other aspects that are cast away.

If any soul from outside the city takes a look at the railway station, he/she wouldn’t be surprised to find wrappers, spit stains from paan (betel leaf), leftovers, vomit, feces, etc lying on the platform or on the tracks. There is little time for the trains to be cleaned and one is certain to find rats and other pests. Go to Japan and you won’t find any of these – neither on the trains or the platform nor the tracks.

This video explains that 323 Shinkansen bullet trains depart Tokyo station every day and the cleaning crew’s job is to ensure each and every compartment is clean and ready for its next trip. However, the time available for a train to depart is less than eight minutes. That means every cleaner has just seven minutes to clean the compartment and ensure there is nothing left over from the previous trip. If only we Indians and our officials take cue and develop strong sense of cleanliness – internally and externally.

Watch how these workers ensure all the garbage is picked, the luggage racks are checked, food trays wiped, windows cleaned, floors swept and seats ready for the train’s next trip.