> Next Stop


> Canada


Team Members:

Daichi Yamashita


Japan’s prolonged economic downturn after the collapse of the bubble economy was aptly named The Lost Decade. In the face of financial uncertainty, the nuclear family model crumbled and gave way to fragmented family structures. Solitude prevailed: partnerless elders found no companionship; single mothers juggled multiple jobs to make ends meet; urban nomads picked up cash jobs and slept in internet cafes; recluses shut themselves out. Their lives had fallen off the tracks; they had no place in the rigid paradigm of the Japanese society.

One day, they came across a peculiar sight. One of the trains on the Yamanote line, Tokyo’s central train loop connecting major urban centers, had been converted into a communal house on wheels. Like a normal house, it had a living room, kitchen, bathroom, garden, and even a theater, only it was shared by everyone. Walk to a station and there it was among the commuter trains. Someone described it as a magical house that had doors that opened to different parts of the city. Round and round, the unceasing cycle strung together disparate points in the city, providing a much-needed refuge from the swirling, chaotic coldness of the urban jungle. A home away from home.

Everyone spent time there. Some got lost in the myriad of events and activities taking place, circling the city again and again until the salarymen started staggering in. Some enjoyed a nice quick bath on the way to work, with a cold bottle of milk to top it off. Some tried out new recipes and served it to those brave enough. As they rode the train, strangers became familiar faces, familiar faces became friends, and friends became family.

The city’s quintessential public infrastructure, a space of perpetual transience, had been transformed into a vessel for everlasting bonds.

eliminate loneliness through design