Monday, March 16, 2009

Homeless Mingration

All last week I have noticed a slight change in the type of passengers on the trains in Tokyo. What I mean, is that I have seen a hell of a lot more homeless bums riding the trains. It is not all the strange for me to see some dirty bum riding the train, while at the same time, grossing everyone out. Well last week I noticed a sudden increase in dirty bums riding the train. For some reason there are a lot more homeless bums riding the Yamanote line between Ikebukuro and Nippori stations. The times I have seen the most of them is between 7:00 am and 1:30 pm. They would not trouble me so much if it was not for the fact that they smell so bad.

Oh man! The bums of the Yamanote line produce a legendary funk which burns the noise hair of all who come in contact with them. It is a really uncomfortable situation for everyone in the car. The shitty thing is they seem to get on the train only when it is packed to the brim. It has been a long time since some of these fucks have taken a decent bath. I should feel sorry for them but considering that there are plenty of public baths in Tokyo there is no excuse for smelling like pure shit.

I could go on and on about the bad smell, but it is the recent increase of bums on the train that has peak my interest. I wonder what is going on? Have the police started a crack down on the homeless? Are they moving around to avoid some recent trouble? Hell, I really don`t have a clue. I have not seen any police fucking with the homeless in a long time. I used to see it a lot when I first arrived in Tokyo. These days, I almost never see that kind of behavior from the police. Maybe it is just that time of year when the homeless move from their winter spot to their summer spot. Anyone have any insight into the recent movements of the homeless?


Wholeflaffer said...

I think you are being a dick here (I mean that in a respectful way). Public baths cost YEN. Since you know they are homeless, it seems to follow that they do not have yen, so how can they use the public baths? Plus, what yen they can conjure up goes for other things, like surviving.

Add to that the fact that homeless people usually suffer from mental illness, they are not being rational.

A hint: breath through the mouth. And try to walk a mile in their shoes.

Anonymous said...

Wear a mask. And like Wholefaffer said, breathe through your mouth and try to walk a mile in their shoes.

Consider the drop in the number of contract jobs. Sure, these might be day laborer types, but who knows? They could have been salarymen. They might be divorced - divorced men usually can't go home to their parents like divorced women usually can.

If you were in the same situation, what would you spend money on: food, sento, warm/relatively safe place to stay overnight? Maybe the Yamanote is cheaper than a place in San'ya or an all night net cafe. (Oh right, the government said only about 5000 homeless people spend their nights in net cafes and count them as 'home'.

It might be too cold to set up camp in Shinjuku Koen - last time I was there was mid-July. The fountain is sentaku and ofuro, and there are plenty of trees to hang clotheslines from. One guy had a library - a bunch of books - in a niche in one of the rocks, protected by a blue tarp.

Japanese culture does not seem to have ways to provide services to homeless, and there may be too few foreign churches (or similar organizations) to help many.

Buy a Big Issue (I do although I can't read most of it - my kanji skills are lacking). Those who sell the Big Issue are doing their best to make some kind of living. Invite the seller to go to Makudos and have a meal and a conversation with you. You might learn something interesting. (I've never seen a Japanese woman selling BI, although plenty of women in my town sell an equivalent publication)

There, but for the grace of God, go we.

TheGhost said...

Am I not to be offended by their bad smell? Maybe I am bring a little bit of a dick by being offend by their bad smell. This might be bacause I am not used to people being `nice` to me. It is sometimes hard for me to be gentle to other people who are suffering. I have tried real hard recently to be more understanding of others suffering. This is my major fault as a person.