The transit system in Japan is amazing, and I've written many times that it is a model of how density can improve your life.
But what if you've forgotten your wallet? What if you had no money? In a car based society, one could hitchhike, or beg the bus driver to let you on. Here in Japan, hitchhiking for the train is not so effective....and the bus drivers...well...they don't speak English so well, so "begging" doesn't work.
So, for your education, dear reader, several friends and I engaged in an academic exercise...
HOW TO CHEAT THE TRAIN SYSTEM
(Four Handy Methods and One Disclaimer)
There are several main schools of thought about the best way to engage in this activity (sport?).
SCHOOL ONE: Don't do this.
The first school of thought suggests quite clearly that this is an illegal activity, and you can probably be sent to pounding-you-in-the-behind-by-a-sumo-wrestler prison if you do it too often. Anyway... the penalties are quite severe (so stay tuned!) After all, you are making use of the service, so... I seriously suggest that you buy a ticket. Er...and do remember that cameras have been mounted at all of the station gates...so you may get booked if you use this knowledge for the cause of evil.
Of course, unless you feel like making funny videos while you wait for a friend. Then... well... go to town.
SCHOOL TWO: Clueless Drunken Foreigner Bash Through Style
This is probably the most widely used form of train-gate missing. It quite simply means "walking through the gate" and giving your best "I'm a stupid foreigner and I don't know how to work this crazy Japanese stuff" look to any train staff you make eye contact with. They will usually decide that you are too much effort to deal with and wave you through.
It looks like this:
I've used this trick a few times (*almost* exclusively by accident). It works better the less you shave and the more confused you look.
SCHOOL THREE: Super Samurai Somersault Style
I think the name pretty much says it all. This method can be used in two ways. You can either try to barrel through as fast as possible and hope that the gate doesn't bash you in the face. Or... you can strategically note the placement of the sensor beams, cover them, and edge your way through until you think you can jump through before the electronic senors realize that the jig is up. Good, except during rush hour.
For the record, this style is known to be 70% more effective if you provide your own "Mission Impossible" Soundtrack.
EDIT: Some folks have complained of video trouble with this one, so I've reloaded and reposted for your repeated enjoyment.
SCHOOL FOUR: 2 - for - 1 Fire Man Carry Bonus Style
This one is more about strategy than physical prowess, though it takes a slight amount of technique. The trick is to balance one train customer on top of the other so you can use a single ticket. This makes your subterfuge less noticeable, as you will not set off the alarm trigger. On the other hand, you will clearly be carrying someone else. Try it if the guard is sleeping.
SCHOOL FIVE: SUPER TURBO SECRET LONG JUMPING STYLE
This is probably the most satisfying method to use. In it, you attempt to clear the gates in a single bound, avoiding the sensors and thereby winning glory for your entire deadbeat family (you rapscallion). If you manage to limit the size of your hop, you can probably get this done without alerting the station staff. It'll just between you and the maker, so start thinking about whether your eternal soul is really worth 130 yen. Well? Is it?
Here, Ben Sensei answers with a firm "no".
Oh... and stay tuned for the heavy handed response at the end from the station staff. He really fixes Ben good for using their property as a metaphorical transit chew-toy.
Ok, it's poll time... what's in his head?
1) Take that, foreign hooligans!!! It's my shakey hand! You'd better say "sorry" in Japanese or else....
2) Thank you very much for not jumping repeatedly through the gates for the past twenty five minutes!
3) I. hate. this. job.
4) Phew... what's that smell???
5) Look... I know I failed out of cop school...but seriously...where did life go wrong?
I'm open to suggestions, either for the "what's going through the station staffer's mind"... or for other academics' thoughts on this fine art.