In case you didn’t notice, it’s April and with the “cruellest month” comes a change in the fiscal year. Hence lots of emails from people announcing they are changing jobs or departments at work.
And Tokyo Metro starts a new series of posters advising its passengers to ride the subway in a courteous way.
Last year’s series was slightly ageist (of course, the only people who do bad things on trains are youngsters!) but popular, mainly for its incongruous monkey character. We feel that if you actually brought a small black monkey (no matter how cute!) onto a crowded Tokyo subway train, that might constitute a serious breach of etiquette — much more than cutting in line or answering the phone.
Anyway, the new financial year’s posters are off to a romantic start.
We can understand the pink theme in this April poster (it’s cherry blossom season, though the rain would have us believe otherwise), but the “heart” is surely a bit too much of a metaphorical jump.
The slogan is, literally, “manners are heart”, and I guess it means that courtesy is about being “full of heart”. It works in some ways — and certainly in Japanese, where kokoro (heart) can also mean soul or spirit — but the first things surely most people will think is that it’s a very tardy advertisement for a Valentine’s Day subway train campaign.
You can peruse previous year’s posters, one per calendar month, as well as check on the progress of 2013’s, over on the Metro Manner Poster website.