Sign of the Times?
Today, for the first time EVER, a guy approached me in Azabu Juban and said he was homeless and hungry.
He was reasonably well-dressed and spoke to me in very polite Japanese.
I offered him the cheese-filled imagawa-yaki I had just bought to bring home for the kids, but he said, "No, I'd rather have a bento. Do you have any money?"
Nice try. I wished him luck, and walked away.
I wonder why he approached a foreigner? I noticed over the years that there is something about me that makes homeless people approach me -- maybe they can somehow sense (correctly) that I never ignore them, and always speak to them? I don't know.
Maybe he was less shy about begging for money for food (or liquor, or who knows what else) from someone clearly from outside his society? Maybe he thought that many white people in Japan are Christians and are therefore more likely to do an act of charity?
I also noticed something else, walking through Shiba Park at night recently.
In addition to the usual homeless people -- the ones dressed in rags, muttering to themselves, with their belongings in dozens of shopping bags around them -- there are people sleeping on the benches wearing construction-worker clothing. Sometimes pairs of their washed underwear and socks are drying on the back of the bench.
Ah, Japan, where the Lost Decade never ended.
So how does one explain the yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond falling to a nine-year low?
I guess right now, the rest of the world is just as lost.