I have noticed that the poor go very unnoticed by most people. I know that most people don`t want to read about the very poor. I am talking about those who eat out of trash cans and piss on the subway. The homeless are the real forgotten people in just about every major city in the world. Here in Tokyo the homeless try to stay unnoticed for fear of being beaten up or mess with by the police. All it take is one little Japanese chick to get grossed out my some guy trying to catch a few hours of sleep in a forgotten corner of the train station and the police come running to give the guy pure hell. If he does not get up and leave the station or at least move to a spot that most people to not venture a beating is in order.
Tokyo is the most advanced city in the world but the police still can dish a brutal beating on a helpless homeless guy at a moments notice. Even though everyone passing by can see the guy get the shit kick out of him they just keep on walking as if nothing is happening. As you walk down the walkway you can hear the moans and smell the blood and piss of a poor old Japanese guy get beat to a pulp by a small group of cops wielding billy sticks. Sometimes the homeless guy will cry out for help but it only makes the beating worse. The cops also like to take the wrap sack, a common item along the homeless in Tokyo, and toss everything in it all over the place. If they find anything that could be used as a weapon in the slightest way the cops drag the guy off for some time in the drunk tank. They might charge him with possession of a deadly weapon, as weapons of all kind are banned in Japan, just so they can hold him longer in the drunk tank. In the end the guy finally gets out of jail beat up and having lost all of this worldly possessions. It is sick stuff indeed.
The homeless women are the ones who really bring tears to ones eyes. Most of the homeless women are really old and in bad health. A lot of them are victims of a vastly changing thinking in the culture of Japan. Only in the past severals decades have women in Japan enjoyed total liberation and independence. It is common place to see the working girl in Japan go about her daily life free from the whims of an overbearing asshole. For many of the old homeless women on the streets of Tokyo never enjoyed such freedom. They lived under the hand of their husband. Always seen and almost never heard, was the live these women had for much of their lives. They end up on the streets due to having been disconnected from their family and their husband leaving nothing for them to live on after his death. Common among these homeless women is a broken down back and torn dirty brown dresses that once showed off their now long gone youthful beauty. If they are lucky they will have shoes. The shoes the few lucky ones have are full of holes. They dig though garbage cans for food that some spoiled Japanese teenager threw away after eating only a few bits. Sadly many of these women die every winter. Their old abused bodies just can`t take the harsh winter. A lot of them just curl up into a ball and fade away.
I wonder who these women where back in the day. Some of them must have been very beautiful and a prize by any man`s standard. They might have been some of the most gentle women in the world. They gave their total loyalty to one man for the rest of their days and for that they end up old, hungry, forgotten and dead on the street.
It really is a sad state of affairs for the homeless in Tokyo. Some of them do find safety in the few hidden shelters that take in the homeless. The shelters fill up quickly sometimes leaving most to wonder the streets in search of some place to sleep safely. The homeless men sometimes give their bad at a shelter for one of the women who are really bad off. Even in the lowest point in a persons life the Japanese sense of togetherness can be found.
So goes life on the streets for the homeless of Tokyo. Everyday they survive is yet another day of struggle and pain. I write about the older ones because they get the rougher end of the shit stick of homeless. The younger make it though all right most of the time except for the ones trapped by drug addiction or prostitution. Seeing these poor tortured soul reminds me that all of us are just a few wrong turns from ending in the streets besides them. It helps to drive you to get on the right path or else......