Shinjuku, Tokyo. underworld. For foreign visitors to Japan.

When you exit Shinjuku Station at the east exit, you will see the electronic bulletin board of Alta in front of you.
If you walk straight down the street, you will see the Kinokuniya Bookstore.

The street is narrow and always crowded with people.

From Shinjuku Station, there are two regular streams of people, one heading towards Shinjuku 3-chome and the other towards Shinjuku Station.

However, in the middle of these two streams, there is a person standing in the middle of the aisle, doing nothing.

He is not alone. I began to notice the presence of men standing around at certain intervals.

Furthermore, when I paid more attention, I noticed that there were also men just standing by the side of the aisle without doing anything.

As I walked toward the west exit, the flow of people became slightly less, but I also began to notice that there were always men standing alone on the street, doing nothing, at what seemed to be even intervals.

The flow of people staggered in two directions, cleverly avoiding those men.

Mostly men. And not very young. They looked to be in their thirties or forties.

I wondered what they were doing. I began to wonder.

If there is a person standing in the middle of the aisle, it is a hindrance to walk, but no one is paying attention to him. They look like they are going against the flow, but they never obstruct the flow.

They are just standing there.

When I went to New York City in the U.S., I felt that there were certain places that I should not stop by, even in the daytime. I felt it was dangerous, especially for foreigners.


However, while there are definitely places in Japan that are similar to this, it is almost impossible for foreigners to be attacked for money during the day.

I think Japan’s security is excellent in that respect.

There was a time when I used to get drunk in such places, drinking in the daytime. If I got drunk and fell asleep on the street, my shoes would be stolen, but that was about it. It is better to be careful not to be left behind, but in Japan it is hard to imagine someone coming at you with a gun and stealing your money.

So, who do you think are the men standing around doing nothing in Shinjuku?

Yes, they are waiting to be talked to.

If you ask them, you can buy most things. These are things that are not sold in stores or online in Japan.

They are in demand.

I wrote this article because I wanted foreign visitors to Japan to know it.

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竹 慎一郎

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