Lives

07/02/2006

A 56-year-old watchman stands from 8 o’clock in the morning to 9 at night everyday around a bank ATM(Automatic Teller Machine)beside a station in Yokohama-city, Japan, guarding it from robbers.


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A 56-year-old watchman(click the picture)

Rest is 45 minutes for lunch and two times of 5 minutes for smoking. Except for those three times for rest, he should keep standing there, cold or warm, rainy or shiny. Payment by the day from his security company is 7000yen. It’s 59.3 American dollars or 34 pounds or 49.5 euros by the exchanging rate on 7th Feb.2006. 4000yen (33.9 dollars or 19.4 pounds or 28.3 euros) out of it should be spent for his apartment rent. He can work 20 days a month.

One day my friend found him standing in the ATM room=on the right to him in the top picture=shaking with cold with pale face.The wind was blowing strongly after it had snowed.
"Excuse me a lot."
He bowed a few times to him who had entered there to withdraw money from the ATM.

“What I think while standing here is only drinking after going back to my home”, he answered my question with gentle smile. He has been living alone because he got divorced 5 years ago.

Accidentally finding something white like a face at a corner in the darkness, I was astonished a lot. It was in the underground of Catacombe at Montparnasse in Paris.
“Who are you?”
Composing myself, I asked that one, looking at the darkness where that one was supposed to stay. I couldn’t find anything there this time. No one answered.
It was on the 24th Thursday of last November.
As you know, Catacombe is an underground grave where quite a lot of human skeletons and bones were gathered from many graves and piled up by the Paris city government over a few hundred years ago. It was built because of changing city planning. The number of human skeletons and bones there is told 6 million sets. It is one of big tourist attractions now in Paris.

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Catacombe at Montparnasse(click the picture)

In spite that there are electric lamps in passages and on the ceilings of repositories, it was dark and stank of something like mold and also humid. Moreover, there wasn’t any tourist around me. Catacombe is quite huge. The length between the entrance and the exit is the same as the distance between two metro-stations.

“I’m a watch.”
“A watch from the city office.”
About 20 seconds after my question, he replied grave.
Fixing my stare at the darkness,I could recognize him this time. He was sitting on a pipe chair.
“How long do you stay here?”
”From 10 to 6.”
“Everyday?”
”Everyday.”
“It’s a hard work, isn’t it?”

After 30 seconds, he answered low.
”Yeah.”

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A begging man on the Charles Bridge(click the picture)

Begging money for tourists passing by, he was touching his forehead on the wet pavement constantly. A cloth cap for money in his left hand was trembling slightly. His waist was lifted because of that posture. He seemed in his 40s and had a lot of black whisker. His bare ankles had plenty of dirt. So cold because it often snowed and blew.

@プラハ・カレル橋全景 エッセイ用.JPG
The Charles Bridge in Prague(Click the picture)

It was a scene on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech, on the 20th of last November. I found him on the way to the opposite shore walking. When I came back 2 hours later, he was still there with the same position.
There wasn’t any coin in it.

I'm stunned every time when I think about or remember these 3 people. Because it’s not unnatural that I could have been or could be anyone of them by some chance. For businessmen in Japan, such a imagination could invite impulse to become quite kind to their superiors in their offices, I guess.
posted by Jiraux at 23:51 | Comment(3) | TrackBack(0) | essay: Seize Japan
Comments
I really enjoyed this essay and was particularly moved by the photo of the man begging on the Charles Bridge. I think it`s important that we reflect on the lives of others--you`re right, any one of us could easily end up in a similar situation. Thank you for taking the time to share these stories.
Posted by christina at 28/02/2006 22:07
Thanks Christina.You are kind and compassionate.
Please keep on sharing.I'd tell you a lot of stories.

2th/March 2006 11:45pm
Posted by Jiraux at 02/03/2006 23:41
I am usually to blogging and i truly admire your content. The post has truly peaks my interest. I'm going to bookmark your web site and keep checking for new info.
Posted by 情趣用品 at 12/08/2013 04:20
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