(Washington Post) Japan’s trains are in a league of their own. Japan’s subculture of train fanatics is no different.
TOKYO — Just as Japan’s trains are in a league of their own, so too are its trainspotters.
This country, where a 20-second delay leads to profuse apologies on the platforms and conductors bow to passengers as they enter the train car, has taken train nerd-dom to a new level.
Sure, there are the vanilla trainspotters who take photos of various trains around the country. They’re called tori-tetsu. (Tori means to take, and tetsu means train.)
But there are also nori-tetsu, people who enjoy traveling on trains; yomi-tetsu, those who love to read about trains, especially train schedules; oto-tetsu, the people who record the sound of trains; sharyo-tetsu, fans of train design; eki-tetsu, people who study stations; and even ekiben-tetsu, aficionados of the exquisite bento lunchboxes sold at stations.
And that’s not even getting into the subcultures of experts on train wiring, the geeks who intercept train radio signals or the would-be conductors.