When riding the subway in Japan, it may be tempting to call your client with an update on your expected time of arrival. Even worse, if you're living in Japan and stuck on the typical 1-1.5 hour commute, you may be tempted to catch up on calls or answer an incoming call.
But in Japan, these are no-no's. Ever conscious of not disturbing others, Japanese don't make calls on commuter trains. They do however, use their cell phones to text, play games or go online, but use ear buds if they are going to listen to anything.
Another no-no is eating or drinking on the train. Riding in spotless trains helps to make up for times your stomach rumbles.
On the other hand, if you happen to fall asleep and use your neighbor's shoulder for a pillow, it's par for a long ride home in Japan. No loss of face. In case you're wondering, on a daily commute Japanese usually wake up right on time - the way their trains run.
A couple year ago, HSBC make a cute commerial about the custom. Check it out:
What other subway etiquette have you observed in Japan?