Games Diary (XIII)
“In Ro 2016, the Brazilians did something similar, but they also took prostitutes off the streets”
A small sign hanging on a facade in Shibuya, one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Tokyo, makes a plea in Japanese asking people to cheer up, to come up. On the lower right side is the logo of the Olympic Games.
The message would be very good if it did not fall into a great contradiction. It would be more in line with the real situation if he said something like this: Cheer up, we’re having an Olympic party! But do it from your home because there is also a state of emergency. Cheer on the athletes! But on television because you are not going to see them up close or with binoculars.
It is confusing that people are encouraged in a city that is experiencing the worst coronavirus wave of the entire pandemic and in which bars are prohibited from serving alcohol. Although many locals ignore anti-Covid regulations. Know it well Victoria Kim, journalist from Los Angeles Times, who toured several of them during Japan-Spain on Tuesday.
“All the bars in Shibuya openly advertised happy hour and they had posted signs saying they would be open until midnight. Inside, the screens were tuned for the start of the game, while customers prepared to toast the goals, drown the losses and drink for everything else, “says Victoria.
“It’s summer, the city’s patience is wearing thin, and Japan’s medal table (20 golds) has finally begun to awaken the festive atmosphere of this metropolis of 14 million people. Alcohol flows freelyTo hell with the ban on the pandemic, “says this journalist who is the correspondent for the US newspaper in South Korea.
After the drunken direct witness of the correspondent, he had wanted to visit those bars of “to hell with prohibition”. The organization of the Games has distributed to the journalists who have already completed the 15 days of semi-confinement in Tokyo -officially only transfers from the hotel to the Olympic venues are allowed- a ticket to move free by subway during the last week of competition. And Shibuya is not far from our hotel.
Indeed, some bars remain open after the nightlife curfew, which is at 8:00 p.m. In addition to Japanese, there are also a few foreigners in the area who live in Tokyo and who know that the Shibuya bar party, or something quite similar to it, is still going on.
Before entering one of the bars, an Australian named Bromm He points a finger at a man wandering the sidewalk dragging a blanket. “The police have kicked out the beggars from the metro stations and the parks that are next to the Olympic venues,” says Bromm.
The Australian follows the Japanese newspapers and has read that, as is normal in all cities that host the Olympic Games, the authorities evict homeless people who sleep in places that tourists can walk. “In Ro 2016, the Brazilians did something similar, but they also took prostitutes off the streets,” recalls a veteran Spanish journalist who was in the previous Games.
There are no tourists in Tokyo. But there are many photographers who will publish in their media a photo of a beggar sleeping under one of the stadiums where the competitions are held.
“Metropolitan government officials entered the final phase of clear homeless area before the opening ceremony “, read an article of July 22 of the newspaper Asahi.
The cardboard houses that surrounded the Metropolitan Government Building were ever-present reminders that many people had been left out of the wealth of the bustling capital. They are no longer there. Nor the camps that were under one of the bridges that lead to the bay where the Olympic Village is located.
The homeless had to move under another bridge further away because the Japanese authorities do not want the world to see that in rich, technological Japan, there are still many poor people.