The Other Side of Japan! Meeting the Unexpected!
Japan is well known all around the world as a great nation. Its people are the most polite and disciplined. The cities and suburbs all give out an air of sophistication. The beauty of nature never fails to enthrall, whatever the season.
But like any other country, Japan has its share of flaws and unpleasant things! Here is my list!
5. Stray Cats
I know it may sound weird, but Japan is known for its love of dogs and cats as pets. So it is a wonder to some as to why there are stray cats around. Once, I saw an old man feeding half a dozen stray cats in a park near Nagoya Castle. In some households, people even put bottles of water outside their doors and windows to keep these poor creatures away.
4. Bike Thief
In Japan, bicycles are the most commonly used form of transportation. Not only that its nature friendly and economical, people can leave them at train stations in going to and coming back from work. As honest as Japanese people may be, there are still incidents of bicycles being stolen in these areas. However, some, if not all incidents are somehow linked to non-Japanese people stealing the bikes for their own use or just for the fun of it.
3. Internet Refugees
They are people between 18-40 years old who are low paid irregular workers and cannot rent their own apartments and therefore chose to stay at a 24 hour internet cafe that can offer them shelter for ¥1000-2000 per night.
2. Yakuza and other gangs
Most people may know them as some gang from years ago and is now non-existent in Japanese society. Most people include me and a lot of friends who are equally interested in the Japanese culture. But recent news on Japanese television debusted this myth! Yakuza and other rival groups are still very much active.
But, according to a Japanese friend, their activities do not affect the everyday lives of the ordinary people. So there is no need to fear them really.
1. Homeless people
One should not expect a country without its homeless people. It is part of the reality of any given society. But yes, as naive as it may sound, I expected there are no homeless people in Japan. So it was a shock to me and my friends when we saw one homeless guy during our first month in Japan. Imagine, we only saw one and it shocked us.
The homeless guy we saw was about 75 or 80 years old pushing a cart with all his belongings and eats at a 100 yen shop every night near our apartment. But we never did see him beg for money or food. Homeless people in Japan work for food by collecting paper and cans. When I was in Tokyo, I saw a bunch of them inside the station, maybe taking shelter against the cold winter weather. And again, I saw no one extending any of their arms for alms.
Only in Japan do I see something good out of these flaws. Stray cats offer an old person a chance to be useful. And as a reflection, being homeless does not necessarily mean being hopeless. There is work to be found, there is something anyone can do to lead honest living. Japanese people maintain an air of dignity amidst hardships and this is something that is really admirable and perhaps one contributing factor that makes it a great nation!