If there’s one Japanese stereotype that we usually find to be true it’s this: Japan loves novelty. Whether it’s a new flavour of a familiar product, a hybrid of two products, or even just any piece of crap with a ‘limited time only’ label on it, it’s going to sell – so when East Japan Railways revealed a limited edition Suica (commuter passes) to commemorate Tokyo Station’s 100th anniversary, all hell broke loose.
JR had announced that 15,000 of the cards would go on sale for ￥2,000 ($16.70) at 8am on Saturday morning, with each person allowed to buy up to three cards. At least 9,000 people showed up, and by 9:40am sales were stopped due to the station’s inability to safely control the crowds.
This news clip shows the overwhelming size of the crowds, as well as a few shots of powerless station employees getting yelled at by people who really, really wanted a novelty train card.
And here’s a four-video playlist of the scene as the crowd pushes through the barriers, succinctly titled “Tokyo Station 100th Anniversary Line. GOES TO SHIT” (note that proper order also seems to have gone to shit in the playlist, with what should be the first video appearing third)
Over 500 of the 8.090 cards sold on Saturday morning have since been put on Yahoo Auction, with one going for ￥200,000 ($1,670). Unfortunately for the winning bidder, this morning JR East announced that they will be printing more cards due to their unexpected popularity.