RESEARCH TEXT :
HOMELESS IN TOKYO
[From the project Polycarbonate House, Anna Barbara, Rachaporn Choochuey, Stefano Mirti, Akihiro Otsuka, Luca Poncellini, Andrea Volpe, 01]
Being homeless in Tokyo is different than being homelessin other countries of the world....
In Tokyo, homeless are people who lost their job, most likely fired, (or their company failed and they didn't find other occupations), or just earning too little money to pay the rent of a normal house, not even a room.
Because of that, they feel ashamed in front of their families, and prefer to live on their own rather than depending on their relatives' money. But anycase they don't give up to live inside a house...
They live in strange
and smart boxes, made of
cardboard, wood, sometime bamboo, sheltered by those blue fabric sheets which
are the most common (and cheapest) material available in any shop of Japan.
The raised expressways, with huge cantilevered concrete slabs, offer good protection
against the rain. But you can often see their camps of tents and cartboard boxes,
(like small blu villages, with gardens and public baths, toilets and running
water) even in the most crowdy parks....and along the banks
of the river.
The government tolerates them and their semi-permanent settlements, but sometimes, important foreign personalities comes to visit Japan, and for this reason, the parks and the whole city must look clean and perfect, for at least a couple of days. So, superpolite policemen ask the homeless if, please, for just few days, would they mind to move their houses somewhere else...
...and the homeless, being them really polite too, and conscious of the importance of the international outlook of their country, they pack their bags, they undo their houses, load their bikes and move away. Their houses are a solution for their lifestyle which is forcely half residential and half nomadic.