The art of Japanese train trips


Illustration © Laura Elliott

By Beatrice Paez, The Origami

Nobody does it better than the Japanese. Like sleeping in strange and seemingly uncomfortable contortions and angles while commuting on public transit, that is. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to this phenomenon, a veritable time capsule for photos of people devoted to the fine art of snoozing.

Instead of endless prattle and monologues that characterize Toronto’s daily TTC journeys, the sounds in Japanese trains are more likely to be the soft and sometimes sonorous snores of weary passengers.

With her sketchbook and camera on hand, Toronto-based artist and illustrator Laura Elliott captured such quotidian scenes of Japanese public life as they unfurled. Those candid, uncomplicated moments when people are unguarded speak to her the most.

“I drew little things I found interesting,” Elliott said, referring to her rendering of Japanese train scenes. “Everybody works so hard over there. They work really long hours and they don’t always get paid well for it. It’s so common to see people dead asleep.” Read more


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