One thing I never saw in the UK but see regularly in Japan is small children (and I mean really small children) riding on trains alone. Often with the morning commuter rush one looks down to see (hidden in amongst all the suited legs of businessmen towering around them) tiny uniformed children little more than a metre tall and aged as young as 7. There is a wonderful kind of fragile cuteness about such a sight, and it’s easy to visualise oneself at that age in that situation – a wild mix of courage, innocence and overwhelm.
However at earlier ages kids are well looked after by adults. Kindergarten students can be seen walking in lines to school, holding handles on ropes to stay safe:
And the smaller ones are wheeled around in carts like chickens, and they stare in wide-eyed wonder at the world around them as their (often rather petite) handlers push and drag the carts around the neighbourhood collecting more little ones as they go.
The carts come in various styles and sizes, some articulated, and hold up to 8 bodies (although I guess one could cram in a whole lot more if necessary). The children are often colour-coordinated.
A heartwarming sight indeed.