Friday, March 13

The Homeless Writer

Several forgettable months ago I was approached by a homeless man outside of Yoyogi park. Normally I don`t stop to talk. This is a habit from back home where homelessness is rare but the few poor souls stuck on the streets are typically drug-addled and clinically insane. This is not the heartless dismissal it may seem, the city did shut down a mental hospital half a mile from my school with no real plan for the patients. A police officer responding to a disturbence call commented casually on the past proximity of two crack houses near my residence. Just across the street in fact. All of this in a city with a lower population than Shibuya on a Sunday.

But for some reason I stopped to talk with this man. Perhaps it was because he spoke excelent English and I was a little less jaded about the city in general. He turned out to be quite a character, telling me stories of his trials and tribulations. He was kicked out of a capsule hotel and accused of stealing a TV, almost arrested by the police for slashing another homeless man`s bags over a territory dispute in the rain, he was from North Korea. But most of his end of the conversation was anger directed at the Japanese people as a whole. To him, the entire island was full of spiteful snakes that smile in your face while they poison your tea. (His words, not mine)

Worst among them were the young women. I had recently broken up with a Japanese girl so I was willing to follow this thread and see where it went. It went to Crazy Town, of course. Suffice it to say, his anger seemed directed mostly at women. I did not think to ask what woman had wronged him in the past, but I assume it was a rather heavy blow.

What is the point of this? Nothing much, I bought some of his books (which I`ve yet to finish reading, wasn`t great stuff) and went on my way for him to accost another passing English speaker perhaps.

As I think back on this encounter I ask myself "where did his anger get him"? It is pretty clear that the answer is not far. I try to never get angry any more. I get frustrated constantly but almost never angry. Except for recently. This year in particular. Whatever the reason, I need to reign it in.