As I read the story on the International Herald Tribute yesterday about the probable end of the bar cars on the Metro-North Railroad line that connects Manhattan to the suburbs of Connecticut, I am amazed to see the contrast with how we approach smoking in public places today. I am so glad that our attitude changed. I cannot imagine what it must have been like in 1968 riding one of those trains.
Smoking Outside is Prohibited in Japan
It is interesting to see the position of Japan towards smoking. Smoking in restaurants is allowed. Many restaurants have a “no smoking” zone, like we used to have. But in many restaurants, you can smoke at any tables. To smoke outside in most of Japan, you will need to find a designated area. Most of the time, they assign an outside spot far far away from the doors as the smoking area. The most drastic way that I saw was the outside smoking shed, not bigger than a container, that sits outside the Narita airport building in Tokyo. Ten to twelve people easily fit in those. I am glad to be a non-smoker.
Returning to the bar cars, the newspaper article written by Michael M. Grynbaum talked about the design of the bar cars over the years.
+ bar car photo: Barton Silverman for The New York Times