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'Homeless' hone their rough-living skills

27 Comments

Homelessness stares us all in the face. Mass layoffs proceed apace, and economists see no end in sight. Who is immune? No one. So be prepared, says Weekly Playboy (Feb 2). Practice. Hone your rough-living skills. Once you get into it, you might find, as two of the magazine’s reporters do, that homelessness has its fun side.

Few men would seem more ill-equipped for unsheltered living than “Dayama” and “Oi,” both self-confessed couch potatoes who at first are not pleased with their assignment. The assignment is, quite simply, to throw themselves into homelessness and discover first hand what it’s like. They accept -- perhaps because homelessness with a job beats homelessness without one.

Where to begin? At a dry riverbed, suggests one of several mentors, recalling tales of a once favored venue for that sort of life. Unfortunately, modern housing and vegetable gardens crowd in upon Tokyo’s rivers, leaving little space for the uprooted. Try the grounds of a Shinto shrine, suggests someone. As long as you stay away from the torii gate, the guards will leave you alone, and the fact that there are guards present might even be an advantage, if one’s security is threatened.

That point settled, the preparations turn to clothing. The first necessity, says a one-time mercenary with extensive camping experience, is a woolen hat -- “because even a young person whose head is exposed to the cold could develop a cerebral hemorrhage. As for underwear,” he warns, “don’t pile it on -- it’s unsanitary.”

He suggests a sleeping bag of the type used by NATO troops. These will keep you warm even in temperatures of minus 10 Celsius. But surely, intervenes Weekly Playboy, they would cost rather more than your average laid-off temp worker could afford? Not so, the ex-mercenary assures. You can get one for 1,280 yen at one of the big discount stores. Discount shopping is a key to successful homelessness. Other bargains include a mini cook stove at 3,800 yen, a warmth-preserving mat for 1,260 yen, a 6-mat-size blue vinyl sheet for 980 yen. And the cardboard and old newspapers that afford that precious feeling of enclosure are, to borrow Weekly Playboy’s English, “priceless.”

Thus equipped, Dayama and Oi proceed to a shrine near the magazine’s office. “Over here!” shouts Oi. He’s found the perfect spot -- a natural bed of rotted leaves and soft earth. “I could sleep here even without a sleeping bag!”

Dayama, meanwhile, has set up his own sleeping quarters, with which he seems well satisfied. “Sleeping bag plus cardbard plus blue sheet -- just see how roomy it is!” Oi has settled down to some cooking. What’s he making? “Ramen. They told me I should live off bentos the convenience stores throw away because they’re past their sell-by dates. I figured that’d be overdoing it a bit, so I’m cooking up this ramen to trade with some of the veteran homeless for drinks and cigarettes.”

Weekly Playboy doesn’t tell us how long the experiment lasts, but Oi and Dayama seem fast learners. They’ll do fine.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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Being a vagrant takes "Skill"?

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This exercise is so synthetic it's ridiculous. It almost reads like something from "The Onion." It's an affront to the luckless who must suffer and to the readers who sit to think. To trivialize what homeless people must go through and experience in their dire straights is unconscionable. What drivel!

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they could also catch and roast some pigeons!

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Why do Weekly Playboy and Japan Today make a joke of homelessness?

In this day and age, no one's basic needs should go unmet.

It's a shame -- it's not an "experiment."

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Interesting... one of my room mates is a "freegan" and actually spent last summer in central park w/ a band of young homeless & runaways. A "freegan" is someone who doesnt believe in spending money to satisfy your survival needs such as shelter, food, water, etc.. He's actually a rather skilled "dumpster diver", where he goes to specific locations to get past due date juice, bananas, etc.. He actually brought home about 40 blueberry breakfast bars yestderday that are perfectly good! it's a shame markets have to throw away perfectly good food.. a afew days ago he brought home about $50 worth of very expensive mushrooms and kale that were still in their protective plastic... i think dumpter diving will become more frequent if these tumultuous times continue..

n_n

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one of my room mates is a "freegan" and actually spent last summer in central park w/ a band of young homeless & runaways. A "freegan" is someone who doesnt believe in spending money to satisfy your survival needs such as shelter, food, water, etc.. He's actually a rather skilled "dumpster diver", where he goes to specific locations to get past due date juice, bananas, etc

When they get older we call them "diseasegans."

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Reminds me of the episode of Drop the Dead Donkey where Damien lives rough for a few days. Hope these guys don't find themselves in danger of getting beaten up by local youths wanting to "clean up" the local area....

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because even a young person whose head is exposed to the cold could develop a cerebral hemorrhage

Yea, right, he sounds like he really knows what he is doing....

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I'm really looking forward to hearing how these two blokes do. I've always wanted to be able to talk to those "blue-tenters" and find out how they are pulling it off...or not. Anyway, kudos to all. Will they include any interviews or interactions with homeless women...or kids?

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I reckon they is taking the micky out of people in a bad situation, just to make their company dosh.

They don't know what having nothing is and probably never will. This bleedig "experiment" is a load of old rubbish.

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homelessness has its fun side.

How offensive to trivialize homelessness like this. With the continuing crisis, maybe the sales of weekly Playboy will drop so much that these two will find out how much fun it is to be homeless for real.

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Unfortunately, the story ends just where it should begin. Good information, however, on the essentials you will need if you become homeless. Get them and keep them with the other emergency stuff for floods and eathquakes.

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Homelessness stares us all in the face.

No it doesn't. There are a great many people who own their homes outright or have financial resources needed to put a roof over their heads for the rest of their lives.

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"There are a great many people who own their homes outright or have the financial resources needed to put a roof over their heads for the rest of their lives"

As opposed to the other two-thirds of the world's population.

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As opposed to the other two-thirds of the world's population.

Exactly. When this article says, "Who is immune? No one," it is making false statements.

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If they donate all the advertising money they earn to a homeless charity then great, otherwise they are truly bottom feeders.

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Great now the "talento" (read as talentless) are going out to prove "Hey homelessness can be fun." Idiots! More senseless Japanese media the sort that makes TV here so painful you almost want to throw your flatscreen off the balcony rather than endure 10mins of evening TV.

Homeless is real you Gits. People lose everything and end up on the street. They freeze the behinds off in winder and suffer in the heat during the summer. They reek because they cannot properly care for themeselves or for their clothing. They eat food that isn't good for them if they can eat at all. And once homeless it is damn near impossible to get out again without a lot of luck.

It isn't camping you morons. It isn't funny. And it isn't something people should have to gambaro through.

It is a shameful symptom of a serciously screwed up society that has put the welfare of companies ahead of the welfare of people. And it is a shame that we allow anyone to end up on the streets in a country with so much wealth and resource to assure the well being of everyone.

So Dayama and Oi. You twits go back to your celebrity lives and do something useful to help the homeless instead of trying to make everyone feel about about the prospect of ending up there without any job saftey net to escape to

Shame on you, on you publication and on any prats who buy into it as entertainment.

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anyone who thinks that this exercise is sily or making light of the homeless is seriously misinformed. These homeless people arent drug or alchol addicted bums that litter american cities these are educated people who have some amount of money and posseions. they are perfectly capable of buying things like sleeping bags and tents so that they can have a place to live while they are looking for more work.

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Rkrynn. You missed the point. The point is not the buying capability of the actual homeless. Nor is it their ability to be resourceful.

What I take issue with is a couple of no-talent "Talento" doing a series on their struggles being homeless. This isn't going to be documentary work leveled at assuring public involvement. It will be some typical gambarro nonsense that J media is filled with. Showing how it isn't so bad to be homeless and look it can even be fun.

A more responsible approach would be to talk to actual homeless people and talk about the very real losses these people have suffered. The loss of their lifestyles, of their homes, of their opportunities and well being.

Do a story about the companies who underemployed them for years just to cut them off. Or about a failing national leadership who seem incapable of even empathizing with these people.

Having a couple dim "talento" guys to show their experiences as a homeless person does not help anything.

The fact that many many Japanese face this as a real posiblity in this economy should make people take this more seriously. Look for solutions not entertainment.

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@tkoind2

Are they tarento? I thought they were junior reporters with an undesirable assignment. Everything you say about the homeless in your 1st post is true, but I don't get why that means this is a bad project (having only read the English story about the jpns story.)

Nothing wrong with showing nuts and bolts reality of getting fed and camping to modern 21 century urban people who've never seen the real countryside (never mind camped) and can't imagine how to get water and warm without a modern house. These weeklies do sensational journalism to sell copies, but they also do a lot of investigative reporting that big papers don't touch and often catch breaking stories first. This could be a decent food for thought read.

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I'd prefer a more natural way of camping in the woods, hunting, fishing, etc...

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Do you mean for fun or if you were homeless? I think it's pretty hard to live that way. Homeless in a city have access to menial jobs to earn cash for food/ other necessities, thrown-out but un-rotten food from store garbage and lots of other things like water/ soap for getting clean. Sentos for an occasional hot bath. Also often roofs (where I live a majority of the homeless live under the bridges of the rivers which greatly eases the worry of a leaky roof). In the forest if you don't know how to hunt, you're really stuck. Nuts are only in season certain seasons, you need knowledge of wild veggies or you're likely to poison yourself. If you're not washing and homeless for like more than a month (I think, more?) you will get so stinky, wild animal stench, it can't be washed off even after many washings. A problem for a sudden job interview.

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maybe the Universities need to offer classes on being homeless. -That way the new grads need not worry. But where to you find a Professor to teach such a class? -sadly they can be found on the streets soon also.

This is slowly becoming like Post-WWII Japan.

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Wish movers, shakers and charitable would give coupons to homeless for daily 10-minute bath, 6 hour- 3-mat snooze, one-dish, one-bowl tonjiru, gomoku soba, okonomiyaki, to keep them healthy if not happy; may even rehabilitate them. But if jobs are without employee welfare, who can blame them if they prefer to stay on the dole? Employee welfare's the answer?

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t is a shameful symptom of a serciously screwed up society that has put the welfare of companies ahead of the welfare of people. And it is a shame that we allow anyone to end up on the streets in a country with so much wealth and resource to assure the well being of everyone.

this country have money for helping outside Japan to show up, to have good opinion outside. JAPAN is so wonderful country by helping many Asian countries around (Cambodia #1?) But, Hey! do not even dare to come to our country because our leaders were clear about one thing "We are homogeneous society, so stay away".

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Having a couple dim "talento" guys to show their experiences as a homeless person does not help anything.

Assuming the Japanese have the same sensibilities as the English speaking world is absurd.

Different people in different cultures sympathize in different ways. Some like you feel that seeing "reality", ie. documentaries and news is an eye opener, and others feel that having a bimbo "like you and me" on screen brings it closer to home.

It really doesn't matter HOW it's done, it's just significant that it IS done. Until very recently, I knew of very respectable people in Japan who found it legitimate to think of the homeless as lazy good-for-nothings who should never be trusted with anything, let alone a job. Even if it's less "authentic" to have these people experience "homelessness", they act as eyes through which 'normal-Japanese-viewers-with-jobs' can see things from a new perspective.

The documentaries and news programs ARE out there. I've seen some of them, and they were good. But my opinion was not shared by fellow viewers. The documentaries were seen as "hypocritical self-righteous crap". Attempting to live as the homeless do, even if it's just a token gesture makes it much more legitimate in some peoples' eyes.

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Down here in Okinawaville, Gate 2 Street has a dozen or so who setup “camp” outside the gate at a small park. They can be seen lying around all day waiting for the weekend. At that time they all pick a spot along both sides of the street and sit there with a hat out saying funny things too who ever walks by. Most GI's toss some coins into the hat and they run off to buy another bottle of hooch! Party time!

A few have guitars with two or three string strumming and wailing. When asked why don’t you come out on Tuesday nights and not just the weekends, the reply was “no business”! Yes in english.

At least they have a bathroom and a few benches at the park.

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