Homelessness in Japan looks a bit different. I remember our first night in Tokyo, walking around Shinjuku and seeing tidily maintained groups of elderly homeless men under a bridge, each with all of their belongings neatly stowed in plastic containers and lashed to push carts, ready to move. Each had a recent haircut and many had cats leashed to the carts. Just last month, Melissa and I came upon a shanty town underneath a bridge in Kyoto and it looked like a small city: each person had his own organized space, cabinets and drawers neatly converted to small rooms. They, too, had cats.
Now, with this story from the BBC, a new generation of white-collar homeless is emerging. Internet cafe culture here is unlike anywhere else; many people choose to pay to sleep overnight in a cafe cubical rather than an expensive business hotel. The people in this video, however, are permanent residences of the internet cafe, paying about $500 a month for a cubicle the size of a bathroom stall.