Speed of Light

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The ceiling sounds like the sky threatening to rain as trains thunder by on tracks overhead. Ticket gates in the distance whine with the constant "beep-beep" of passengers entering and exiting with electronic cards. Eyes look to the ground, look at cell phones, or look for a quicker path through the crowds. People here in the center of the station either run or walk. Few stand still. This is Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo. It is the busiest train station in not only Japan, but in the world. More than 3 million people travel through the station everyday, rushing to transfer to trains, buses, jobs, stores, and homes. But all this commuting may have its downsides. A study in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics suggests that longer commuting time translates to a decrease in happiness, and in a recent survey, Japanese reported having among the longest commuting times in the world. Squeezing into packed trains for long rides may actually be squeezing the fun out of life. Here the video and still images of commuters in Shinjuku Station are squeezed and stretched as well. Commuters passed by blank panels of lights in the station that are usually used to display advertising. Using a long shutter speed, the camera captured a distorted picture of the travelers as they rushed around at what seems like the speed of light.