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Readers: Just for Fun

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Just for fun, I took a metro ride during the morning rush hour from Korakuen to the shopping and business district of downtown Tokyo. As I boarded the train, a phalanx of businessmen, students, and office workers charged forward in one bone-crunching surge, squeezing through the narrow gate of the subway door in the brief seconds that it remained open.

At each stop, more people jammed through the door, and although we were squashed together, passengers read their books and newspapers. There was hardly enough room for their eyes to move, let alone their hands.

This is truly the most literate society in the world, I thought. What were they reading? Hideo Kobayashi's study of Mozart? Tips on getting into Todai? Forming Learning Ability by their leading educational researchers?

Peering over shoulders, I noticed that many of the men were reading either sports pages and cartoons or pulp pornography--a real eye-opener for 8:30 A.M.

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