None of us enjoy commuting, but it’s often a facet of daily life which we can’t easily escape from. But if you think you have it bad, imagine being in the middle of peak hour in the Shinjuku or Shibuya districts in Tokyo, where you’re literally herded into train carriages awash with the hot breath, sweat and condensation of other commuters.
Tokyo itself is densely populated, over 13 million people live and work within its concrete & neon jungle. Like most major cities, space in Tokyo is extremely limited – a luxury often only accessible to the supremely wealthy or corporate business. When it comes to the more popular areas of Tokyo, the majority of city-dwellers have to jostle just for space just to stay on the sidewalk.
German photographer Michael Wolf ventured in the dark depths of Tokyo’s peak hour to photograph Japanese commuters and the uncomfortable routine they embark on each day. The trains are so congested, passengers are pressed flush against the glass, surrounded & drench in the sweat, breath and condensation of the other commuters in the carriage. He’s brooding & intense images are available in his compelling new book, you can also view more images from the “Tokyo Compression” series right here.
So next time you’re on a train or bus commuting to work and feeling grumpy around it all, just think – at least you get to breathe…