Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Walking back from the club, I got a huge reality check. Inside the subway station there were upwards of five homeless men who were arranging cardboard to sleep on. Some were just lying on the ground next to the stores in the station. It was one of the saddest things I have seen yet. They didn't have bags of their possessions or anything. Just sleeping, their heads tucked inside their jackets, lying on the hard tile. People in the station, on their way home, didn't look twice at them. It was such a sharp contrast. Men and women dressed up from their night out with friends or families walking right past their opposites impoverished men who are all alone and have no where else to sleep but the station.

The homelessness was not something I thought I would have to deal with. I know housing is expensive here, but I think it has been so shocking because the city seems so rich. Tokyo is one of the most expensive places anyone can live. The rarity of actually seeing homeless people probably magnifies how bad I feel every time I see someone in that stage in their life. Its like the opposite of India for me. Instead of seeing so many poor and homeless people on a regular basis that I got hardened to it, the sharp sharp contrast of rich v. poor here is unbelievable.

Riding the train over a bridge one day, Travis and I saw a collection of shacks right near a river. Small one room, built from left over metal and everything. Plus they were right next to a baseball field where a little league was playing. While the little boys practiced, the people living there were hanging up their laundry. Every once in a while, I see people resting or sleeping at Shibuya. Just 5 minutes from my favorite high end mall. Like Shibuya is one of the Tokyo's fashion capitals. So much wealth all over and yet some people are sleeping on the ground. Its a sad sight.

I always wondered if it is more downgrading to be homeless in a rich country rather than no that is not as developed. For instanced India, where a great majority of the country would be classified as working-poor and a huge number are homeless or live in slums, verses Japan, who it developed, technologically advanced, and a great majority of their population is at least in the middle class category. I'm sure they are used to being homeless wherever they are, they probably don't know any more than the extent of their circumstances allows. But I'm sure the demographics and population of the area around them has to affect how they think of themselves and their situation.

You always wish there is something you can do. It must be such a hard life.


  1. i think you have been gifted with a special sensibility for others in impoverished circumstances. not everyone is so able to see reality as it is beyond the scopes of their own world.

    i truly believe that it is important for you to keep your heart and your mind open. too much of society (ESPECIALLY japanese society) urges us to turn a blind eye. ultimately--if not today then one day--we must make a difference in our actions rather than simply our sympathies. condolences and commiserations never fed an empty stomach.

    sorry for the preaching. i just feel strongly about this stuff haha.

  2. no no i totally agree. i feel like there isn't much i can do now, but its sights like these that make me try to do something more with my life. there are greater callings in life than simply making money and looking out for my own family. stuff like this reminds me what's important and what's worth pursuing in the future.