Japan: Trains

Tōkyō is heavy, almost as heavy as the diacritics pressing down on the o’s, flattening and elongating the city’s groan. The grey buildings are aggressively tall and the greyed people passively radiate a cruelty special to our species. It feels as if the city is trying its best to let you leave, as if your presence is a fallen leaf taking too long to rot into the pavement. In this city, I feel no heat, just roughness.

The JR Yamanote Line has 29 stops and all of them are bathed in blue light at night. Something psychological study finds blue LED light deters people from intentionally pressing the self-destruct button. As my feet pass over from waiting platform onto the electric car, I see a thick, blued crack of abyss below. I wonder how many people have plunged themselves into the gunmetal groan.

An old woman wearing a navy cardigan three sizes too large for her tells me suicide is illegal in Japan, that depression and its prisoners are not allowed to haphazardly enter onto the train tracks. I ask her what happens if they do. She tells me they die. I ask her what happens next. She tells me the train company will sue their families in order to deter future suicides. I ask her what happens to the shiny, black loafers left behind.

As I walk on and off and on and off the train, I run to and from and to and from one hundred forty nine shades of dying. Sometimes, one of them completely fades to black. The journey of a million tears begins with a single blink. I look up and see a boy folding color into the world, turning kaleidoscopes into cranes because hope is the better currency for this generation. As he gets off the train, I close my eyes and pray that he, this soft boy, will live long enough to become a gentle man. When I open my eyes, he is gone and the ends still do not justify the beginnings.

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