Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

Halloween revelers turn Shibuya into garbage dump

45 Comments

With the coming of the dawn in Shibuya on the morning of Nov 1, the area resembled an urban waste dump. Strewn in the streets and sidewalks were beer cans and bottles, PET bottles and plastic bags crammed with waste of all sorts. Discarded paper, dampened by the light rain that fell, clung obstinately to the ground.

The mountains of trash, reports J-Cast News (Nov 2) had been deposited the night before by costumed revelers who had descended on the area by the thousands to celebrate Halloween. Their masks and painted faces were broadcast live on NHK and other TV channels.

The problem came afterwards. The containers, along with unconsumed remnants of what they ate and drank -- as well as discarded pieces of costumes -- were strewn about with what appeared to be zero concern for keeping the streets clean.

Only a few months ago, Japanese won international praise at the World Cup in Brazil when supporters of their national football team voluntarily picked up refuse at a venue. But this time, the crowds in Shibuya seemed indifferent to litter.

Not surprisingly, a stream of complaints emanated from Twitter and other social media.

"Shibuya has become a waste dump," tweeted one. "The photos of Shibuya make it look like a total slum," posted another. "Hey, you Halloween poopers, have fun, but don't forget to bring your morals with you," admonished another.

Amid the sighs and complaints over people's declining morality, there was at least one bright side to the story: the speed with which the mess was cleaned up, thanks to the spirit of numerous volunteers.

Indeed, J-Cast News' reporter noted that by the afternoon of Nov 2, no visible evidence remained of the litter deposited two nights' earlier. It was apparent that from around noon of the previous day a major cleanup had been conducted.

Who was behind it?

From the morning of Nov 1, residents of the district, along with mostly young volunteers, had descended on the streets armed with brooms and trash bags, and devoted all-out efforts to restoring the place to the status quo.

Even while the last of the costumed partiers had left the scene, small numbers of people could be seen, out in the rain, picking up the refuse left behind from the night before. Some groups had been summoned to the area by Twitter, such as like the user transmitted, "Now I'm in Shibuya. People who were not among the costumed partygoers last night are out on the street, without umbrellas, picking up rubbish. If you look at the sections that are cleaned up and compare them with the places where they haven't started work yet, you can get a good idea of the extent of the mess that had been left behind. I bow to these people in respect."

From some time ago, the writer notes, people have taken part in such volunteer cleanup activities in Shibuya and other areas. Once again they deserve credit for their contributions to cleaning up the streets. On the occasion of Halloween, people were once again reminded of their selfless behavior.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
Login to comment

Strewn in the streets and sidewalks were beer cans and bottles, PET bottles and plastic bags crammed with waste of all sorts.

Brought to you by the same minded kids who eat a bread snacks and larger box drink and think the front of my house is the best place to toss the empty bag.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

If we look more broadly at the problem of those who don't clean up after themselves, then we should equally criticize both those who toss their litter and the corporations that create and mass-market a consumptive, throw-away behaviour and lifestyles without taking responsibility for the cost of the waste they produce. For example, shouldn't the producers of PET bottle drinks first have to create an efficient system to collect and recycle the bottles before they start selling them? Instead they leave it up to municipalities to do this.

It is also interesting that we make a big fuss about litter in a commercial district such as Shibuya, that thrives on selling what will become waste, but we mostly ignore the fact that people living in urban areas export most of their waste to rural areas, to the oceans, into the air, etc. Out of sight, out of mind.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It's funny isn't it how you look at things. This article seems to be written by somebody with an agenda against the Halloween celebration in Shibuya. I think it was great, and hope that they continue with it next yer. Let people get out and have some fun. This story could have been written from a totally different perspective to talk about how great it was that volunteers and others came to clean up after a happy event where many people gathered, there was no crime, no looting, and everybody enjoyed themselves. Much like the Japanese at the World Cup. But in this instance the writer focuses on the negative first to show how bad Halloween revelers are, and how, even though the writer doesn't state it clearly, they subtly want the Halloween festivities curbed. On January 1st in New York, do you hear people complaining about all the garbage etc left behind in Times Square from the revelers? No, there are hoards of people ready to move in and clean up.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

And this is how "cool" was Halloween in Shibuya...

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

What's cool is the fact that the people banded together and cleaned up this very messy, quite large area, by noon the following day.

A few hours of garbage hurt no one. A few hours of celebration becomes the soul of the city.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Many festivals in Japan result in the streets being trashed. And hats off to the cleaning staff who have them back in tip-top shape before the sun comes up. It's clear that the problem isn't the litter so much but rather Halloween.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Until I get the name of the author or a photo I'm calling BS on this article and dismissing it as someone who just hates Halloween.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Garbage Dump? Sounds like the average Japanese beach!

15 ( +17 / -2 )

It's not really a big deal. I am from New Orleans. Ever been to Mardi Gra??? The place gets absolutely trashed. Not once but after each and every parade! Over a weeks worth. At the end of every parade he cleaning crew is already there. After its all over the city does an even more thorough cleaning. Let the people have some carefree fun, but just be ready to clean up after them and not complain about it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I took part in a cleanup in Sannomiya (Kobe) on Saturday night. Mostly just the odd cigarette butt.

Is this a national thing or just a coincidence?

What's cool is the fact that the people banded together and cleaned up this very messy, quite large area, by noon the following day.

Even better not to litter in the first place but goes to show there's good people out there. (Not trying to big-note my own participation. I was from out of town and invited to go)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

People would do well to remember that in most urban centers there is simply NO place to dump one's garbage unless at a conbini. Unless there is an official sponsored event with designated trash bins in place, people have nowhere to put their cans and burnables.

11 ( +12 / -2 )

Sumo: I agree with you. Those conbini trash cans were probably overflowing from the get-go. Why couldn't sanitation workers have taken some preventive measures before Halloween?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i agree it is great how people got together and cleaned up. i left a pumpkin of my own in Dogenzaka. hope she got home safely!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Turn it into a positive situation I say.. people want to celebrate, good for them, make a business opportunity.. provide rubbish bins etc if you don't want rubbish everywhere.. Close the crossing on New Years and other events, have businesses who must provide cleanup etc etc everyones happy

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I would tend to agree the author might have had something of an anti-Halloween party bent. Shibuya looks like a post-apocalyptic trash pile pretty much every early morning during the weekends before the cleaning crews come through, with peaks during events and holidays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you walk through Shibuya late at any night/early morning not just Halloween, you will see rats as big as cats everywhere. I NEVER eat in Shibuya. Horrible.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So there was a bit of garbage? So what? I KNEW that by the time I finished the article it would already be have been cleaned up. Kudos to those who did it, but for anyone like Alex80 trying to turn this into a rant against 'traditional customs' vs. 'imported holidays (and lack of manners)', think again! First and foremost, as sumo touched on, in a place like Shibuya there is going to be next to ZERO public trash bins because the government was afraid since years ago that having bins all around in public would be a means for terrorists to hide something -- no joke! I remember when these and benches disappeared in a lot of places after 9/11. Many convenience stores that are newly built do not have garbage containers or can recycling bins outside anymore because they get filled up with garbage from people who pass or drive by. I can only imagine that a lot of the garbage left behind was left behind because there was nowhere to put it, and while people SHOULD take their trash home, there were probably a lot of revelers who, shame on them, could not be bothered to carry it around the rest of the night. Hopefully next year they will prepare large bins or boxes to collect waste and recycling, as they do at any major festival.

Also, I see situations like this often after areas that have large hanami events, despite there being cans set out for it, and also see people urinating in public to boot! So, it's not a Hallowe'en thing -- this leaving garbage in the streets. Next year if they have the bins out and are ready for it, I'm sure it will be a whole lot cleaner in the end.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Garbage is the A-l food supply for rats.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe there should be paying jobs. People who are dedicated to this job. THAT's what happens in Times Square after the festivities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Maybe there should be paying jobs. People who are dedicated to this job. THAT's what happens in Times Square after the festivities.

I believe there are. I've seen what appeared to be paid workers cleaning up in Shibuya in the early morning hours.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

remember during the World Cup? where they show Japanese cleaning up and showed that picture of some J-fans cleaning up and went viral? this one should go viral too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At least their were numerous volunteers to help clean up, one writer points out that there is no complaints after the New Year celebration and as living in Japan for several years, that is correct. The writer or whomever is behind this story seems to be pretty intent in raising up a potential bad image for this type of party celebration rather than the trash on the streets. IF you really want to discuss dirty streets, I see it everyday especially in the Minami area, where there's hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts thrown at each step one walks, not to mention the pet bottles, open bento packages, wrappers, tissue paper, and the list goes on. It has gotten worse over the years each time I go through there.It doesn't help that area much that its already one area that has many homeless and poor people, but its one thing to be poor and yet be clean. Even the younger generation doesn't pick up any of the trash. Where has the respect of where one lives gone?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bring back the trashcans.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

OK, here's an idea: Next year, promote the concept of "Treats In - Trash Out." -- and encourage everyone to bring a treat bag and a trash bag. Problem solved. No more obstinate paper.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Its like that every single weekend

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only a few months ago, Japanese won international praise at the World Cup in Brazil when supporters of their national football team voluntarily picked up refuse at a venue. But this time, the crowds in Shibuya seemed indifferent to litter.

This was a total premeditated action by the Japanese supporters because they knew that a camera will catch them and that it will be broadcasted all over the world.

What Japanese pretend to be in front of the world is often radically different to want they really are in Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

While I don't condone tossing litter to the ground, perhaps there would have been less of it on the ground had there actually been trash receptacles anywhere in the vicinity that could have been used? Japan's virtual outlawing of public trash containers is just as much at fault as the people who got tired of carrying their trash and tossed it to the ground.

As it was explained to me, public trash cans were outlawed after the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subways- which used sealed trash can bags to hold the liquid. I must admit I'm not following the logic of why that would require the virtual banning of public trash cans.

If you think Shibuya was messy this time, just wait until the Olympics are held and the international community descends on Tokyo. They're only going to carry their trash for so long before they drop it in frustration - and it won't just be Shibuya that's affected.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This was a total premeditated action by the Japanese supporters because they knew that a camera will catch them and that it will be broadcasted all over the world.

What Japanese pretend to be in front of the world is often radically different to want they really are in Japan.

Except that the Japanese were out there early in the morning right after the people dissipated, and had the area clean by noon. So they were acting the same at home as they do when they are seen by camera.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The problem is not the crowd of revellers. The problem is the lack of foresight by the local council and the police to accommodate the crowds, and their garbage. Maybe next year they will be better prepared and we won't see petty complaints like this one. They only have their lack of preparation to blame. Stop blaming the revellers and put the blame where it really lies, with no narrow minded beaurocrats in charge of running the City. Tossers!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sounds like the issue was more that there was a lack of organization on the part of officials to handle the influx of people and resulting trash. You go to any organized event in Japan and there are multiple trash stations with volunteers manning the sorting. Japanese officials wouldn't dare provide this because it would be acknowledgment that a foreign-born celebration is taking hold in Japan and people are actually enjoying themselves as opposed to being the robots they are supposed to be. So the trash piles up and the bitter old men grumble under their breath about the foreigners who are of course to blame.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Next year they will lock it down like they do new years now

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

where can one see pictures of the before and after?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't really care for Halloween. However as a solution - install more rubbish bins. True, people were too lazy to carry their rubbish home with them - but Japan does have a serious lack of public bins.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

daito_hak said: "What Japanese pretend to be in front of the world is often radically different to want they really are in Japan".

Strangerland said: "Except that the Japanese were out there early in the morning right after the people dissipated, and had the area clean by noon. So they were acting the same at home as they do when they are seen by camera."

No, the article says noon of the next day was when the cleanup activity started, and the garbage was gone by the afternoon of the day after that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No, the article says noon of the next day was when the cleanup activity started, and the garbage was gone by the afternoon of the day after that.

I was there at noon on Saturday - it was cleaned up.

In a happy twist, though, when the sun came up it shone on not just piles of thoughtless party leftovers, but also on groups of volunteers picking them up. Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and dining destinations, and the volunteers had it looking presentable again for the non-costumed Saturday afternoon crowds.

Link: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/11/05/volunteers-clean-up-tokyo-after-huge-halloween-party-get-called-hypocrites-for-their-service/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is full of filthy swines who drop litter in the streets, dump rubbish in the countryside and cover the beaches with detritus. The vast majority of people who do this are Japanese, not foreigners.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, people should pick up after themselves, but Tokyo seems to be the only major city in the world with essentially no public trash receptacles in busy retail areas. I pay a lot of Japanese taxes and would be happy for part of the funds to be used to collect refuse. I support holding the large Halloween and new year's celebrations, as well as post football match celebrations, at the scramble crossing, with some reasonable accommodation for traffic getting through.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pretentious feel-good, look at us we have the kizuna crap. This thing happens in many countries and is cleaned up by city employees. At least they get paid to do this. Does Tokyo not have such a service? Where were the cleaning crews?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I agree with Southwest Yamatojin. Maybe if there were more than seven outdoor trash cans in the entire city of Tokyo, people would have a place to discard their garbage (slight exaggeration, but not by much)! The sarin gas attacks were more than 20 years ago, and there's still a paucity of trash cans in Tokyo. People can't be expected to carry their garbage around with them all night, can they?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Get the train just have a Halloween party costume tax to pay for garbage disposal-simple!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shibuya is pretty filthy to begin with. I'm sure there are other times when it gets trashed too. Its clear this article was written by someone with a bias against Halloween. It is the mindset that says it is perfectly good for corporations to benefit from the mass marketing of events such as Christmas and Halloween-but nobody should actually be allowed to celebrate them...Japanese firms make millions on merchandise for these events but they want to have thier cake and eat it too-i.e. profit from the related merchandise-but don't celebrate Halloween and don't even think about taking a day off for X-mas, becase we want your spending and your labor too. Sorry you'll have to make do with no costumes and parties on Halloween-and on X-mas we expect to you to do a full day's work and buy a mandatory KFC meal-because everyone knows that is the proper way to observe Christmas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So what? You should be allowed to act like a pig just because YOU want to have some fun? Selfish behaviour of this generation. Take your trash with you. IS that so hard? Better yet. take a bag with you and put it all in the one bag at the end of the night. I've been going out for years and never once needed to throw things on the ground. This is a pathetically poor excuse just to act like a pig.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So what? You should be allowed to act like a pig just because YOU want to have some fun?

No. Saying "take your trash with you" is all well and good if your destination has a trash receptacle, but what do you do when the plaza outside Shibuya station IS your destination? There's N O T H I N G there to put your trash in. That's a failure by the city, not Halloween.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No trash cans?.... well, you can thank Asahara Shoko for that one. But I still agree with Knobby Roads; if we know there are no trash cans, then we need to think ahead; not become self-centered and ignorant.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Fadamor

So put your rubbish in your bag or in your pockets then! And do not expect others to have to deal with the waste from the products you bought and are responsible for.

Why the belief that litter bins are the root of the problem? Bins or not, I always put all rubbish into my bag, take it home and sort it for recycling. It is human's greediness, selfishness and laziness that is the problem

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites