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