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and you think japan is a country of riches...

a homeless man with his pet kitten in tokyo's yoyogi park

a homeless man with his pet kitten in tokyo's yoyogi park

homeless mans shoes on the train

there are many thousands of homeless people in tokyo. they live in cardboard boxes under stairwells, in little side corriders, traffic islands, parklands and anywhere they can leave their cardboard, tarpaulins and plastic bags.

on the way into yoyogi park in harajuku on sunday, i noticed a slight, proud man dozing in the corner of the seat. looking down, you could see his toes poking out through his socks, and his shoes. one hand was tucked in under his vest, the other rested, cuplike, on his knee. the only giveaway was the shoes. and what a giveaway.

in yoyogi, of course, there were dozens of homeless folk making the most of the suns warmth and stretching out on their cardboard to sleep, their storage shopping bags beside them.

one man had adopted a cute little tabby kitten who was having a good frolic as the man slept, much to the amusement of the passing crowds. before too long, a sizable crowd had gathered around to take keitei (phone) photos of the sleeping man and his kitten. i joined them. one man, grinning happily, maybe touched by the scene, left his half drunk bottle of soda and a packet of cigarettes by the mans feet. i started to stroll away - there was a buzz of excitement a few metres away where some fashion students were rehearsing their fashion parade with their models. after i while i turned back to get a look at the man and his kitten. the crowds had gone, and the man was sitting up, cradling the kitten in his arms. *click*

Martine wrote this on December 9, 2003 1:55 AM