The very first thing I noticed about Japanese trains, apart from how cool they look, was how quiet they are. This is very interesting given they are usually busy with many, many people on board. It did not take me long to realise that people speak in quiet and hushed tones and that NO-ONE speaks on their phones. It is totally socially unacceptable to answer your mobile (cell) phone on the train. There are signs everywhere to let you know of this. You are also required to switch your phone to silent mode or “manner mode”, as they call it in Japan. So, no game noises, no ringing and no loud conversations thrust onto other passengers.
It is acceptable to use your phone on the train, if you are wearing headphones. But NOT for taking calls. This is very strictly adhered to by everyone (except for one cheeky salaryman I saw who was whispering into his headset, and obtaining many disdainful glances from surrounding passengers).
There are so many things to love about Japan, but their consideration of others is one of my favourite things.
Photo credit: http://www.themeparkreview.com