Here’s a little story about something that happened ten years ago. It happened in the first week of August 2005, just days after I climbed Mt. Fuji. Let’s just say that my inspiration to write this post has to do with some videos I watched on YouTube involving train station incidents.
I was sitting in the station after work. It was around 10:30 pm, and I was taking the train from Konandai Station to Shin-Sugita Station, which is near where I lived at the time. I guess it would be helpful to mention that this happened in Yokohama.
As I was saying, I was sitting in the station waiting for my train, and I was looking at my cell phone. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a businessman, around thirty-five years old, pacing back and forth. There was nothing unusual about him. He had a black suit, was carrying a briefcase, and just looked normal. I had no idea what this guy was going to do, but I wish I’d paid more attention. I went back to my phone, sending an email to my mom.
The train arrival was announced, and I continued sitting, intending on getting in the car directly in front of the bench I was on. The front of the train was approaching, when I looked up and noticed the businessman. He ran to the edge of the platform and jumped.
Everything was in slow motion. I saw him, black suit, black shoes, black hair, and black briefcase, all flying in the air with a train coming toward him at about seventy or eighty kilometres per hour. I saw the impact briefly, but what I really noticed was the shattered glass scattering through the air. I could see every little piece with my heightened senses due to the adrenaline coursing through my body. I looked around, and one guy turned to me and gave me a look that said, “Did you see that?” His eyes were wide and they probably mirrored my expression of shock.
There were other sounds in the station, the screams of high school girls and the nervous laughter of the boys. They undoubtedly had a more gruesome view of the suicide. But I saw the guy alive the very moment before he was hit. I saw him alive for about five minutes before the train, and I had no clue what he was about to do.
I didn’t know what to do. I walked out of the station and got into a taxi to go home. I sat in the taxi without saying a thing, almost motionless while I stared out the window and the scene replayed in my mind over and over again.
I got home, went inside, and broke down. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t want to do anything. I just saw a man die in one of the worst ways.
The memory hasn’t faded. It’s as clear as if it happened today. I don’t think about it often, but news of yet another suicide brings back that memory. They call them “human accident” in train stations in Japan. Sometimes, I want to tell someone the story I told you. I did when I went to work the next day, and I got to hear another suicide story from my school’s manager when she was in high school. In her case, she saw blood and a possibly severed arm. She couldn’t tell. But that’s another story, and I don’t have the details.
Why did I tell you this? Sometimes these things need to be told, instead of being held inside. It doesn’t affect me much these days, but it’s probably therapeutic to talk about it. Thanks for reading.