According to my friend Akemi, this poster is part of a popular campaign to promote good manners on the subways here in Tokyo. At first I was a bit surprised and confused by this poster. I couldn’t imagine what it was the passengers were supposed to be doing at home.
In the poster, a young woman is giving a man her heart while another man with crutches looks on. What do you think this poster is trying to say? What should they be doing at home instead of on the train?
I have to admit that I was a little embarrassed by what came to mind for me. I couldn’t imagine that the transit authorities were actually trying to tell passengers to refrain from romance on the trains. After all, Japanese tend to be quite shy about public shows of affection. Had Japan changed that much in the few short years I’ve been away?
Finally, she explained to me that in Japan, women give chocolates to men on Valentine’s day. The poster is asking lovers to refrain from taking seats together and becoming so wrapped up in each other as they exchange chocolates that they inconvenience others who really need to sit down. They are encouraging them to share their sweetness for each other at home instead, giving up their seats for the handicapped and elderly. Something good for us all to remember!