While December is a festive month for most of us, it can also be a bad time in Japan: the year's ending so people are stressing out about work and nightly bonenkai parties where everyone gets completely inebriated are happening everywhere.
A few nights ago, I happened to witness a guy beating up his little girl in the middle of the road. She couldn't have been older than seven. Another pedestrian and I ran up to stop the dad, who was totally wasted and screaming ridiculous accusations that kept changing as time went by. The other guy told the dad off and kept an eye on the scene to call the child abuse hotline.
My heart ached when I saw how many people passed by, looking the other way and pretending like it was any other 7 p.m. evening in a friendly neighborhood. And it's not the first time I've seen something like this. Abuse is rarely reported here, much less child abuse, and as a result there are multitudes suffering from depression in this country with suicides happening daily. It made me sick when I realized how "normal" it was when my train was delayed last week for over an hour because of yet another jumper in the next station over - how numb society has become.
Ironically, living in a big city with all its busy-ness and attractions and opportunities for success make it easier to get less involved with other people's lives and have fewer connections on a personal level. We get wrapped up with our own little selves and there's a strong "It's not my problem," "Protect my privacy and I'll leave yours alone" mentality. Amidst all the busy-ness of the season, commercial holiday cheer, present checklists and Mariah Carey BGM set on repeat, please don't forget the meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus who came to give hope to individuals and show a perfect example of true love in a dark world.
Media coordinator for Outdoor Japan Media. I write, shoot, design, and celebrate the great outdoors.