Japan, as Francis put it this morning, can be "happy, but pretend."
The other day, as we were walking to the Ikebukuro train station to go to school, we watched about three ambulances drive by us. When we arrived at the eki, we saw even more lined up along the street. We knew what it meant. We'd been in Japan long enough to piece together the clues.
To put this story in perspective and have its implications make a bit more sense, Japanese trains are very timely. When the sign says that your train will arrive at 7:41, it will arrive at 7:41. Furthermore, it will leave in a timely manner. Trains rarely stop for more than a minute. The most common cause for delay is what's referred to as an "accident."
Every day, our group takes the Yamanote line to Shinjuku, where we board the Chuo rapid train for Yotsuya.
On this particular day, after climbing the stairs toward the Yamanote boarding area, we realized there was a stationary Chuo train on the other side of our section. In front of the train was a giant green tarp with paramedics and police officers moving around.
It was an "accident."
Not that I want to be clever, or feel in some way that being ambiguous will make my story seem more dramatic, but I feel as if sending you to this link( Chuocide ) will better explain the common phenomenon (to Japanese) that, to be totally honest, shocked me.