Today we dropped in on the Department of Awesomely Good Deeds and learned about one of the world’s lesser-known superheroes. More about simply helping people out than fighting crime, this Japanese superhero has undertaken a very specific and localized duty.
Meet Tadahiro Kanemasu, seen here carrying a woman’s shopping cart for her while they walk down the stairs towards a Tokyo subway station. In his shiny green and silver Power Rangers suit and mask, Tadahiro positions himself at the stairs of this subway station waiting for travelers in need of help carrying packages, carts, and strollers up or down the stairs.
The slender 27-year-old has spent three months being a good Samaritan at the station on Tokyo’s western side. Like many in the city, it has neither elevators nor escalators and a long flight of dimly lit stairs.
"Japanese people find it hard to accept help, they feel obligated to the other person, so the mask really helps me out," said Tadahiro Kanemasu.
Since Kanemasu can set aside only a couple of hours each day for his good deeds, he hopes to recruit others in different colored suits. Already he has inquiries about pink and red.
Kanemasu admitted he got off to a bit of a rocky start. “When I first began, people basically said ‘Get away from me, you weirdo’,” he said. “Now they still think I’m weird but in a good way.”
Photo by Yuya Shino.
View From Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji, Fujinomiya Trail, 8th station (3010m)
Performers dance in front of the town’s shrine for their annual summer festival. Tabayama, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.
The Lost Generation of Japanese Internet Cafe Kids
Japanese internet cafes are good. So good that people are living there – literally.
Japanese internet cafes (also known as manga cafes) offer comfortable lay-flat chairs. They’re semi-private and have food, showers, free drinks and ice cream, a massive library of books, manga, video games, magazines and movies. They even have internet!
It’s cheap to stay over night in an internet cafe. Often it’s around 1000~2000 yen ($10-20 USD).
Some young Japanese live in the cafes for weeks, months or even years. Moving from cafe to cafe each night.
Most internet cafe kids are engaged in casual employment of some kind. Many find the cafes a convenient alternative to an expensive Tokyo or Osaka apartment. They may also lack the down payment that’s required for an apartment (key money, deposit and agent fees often total 6 months rent).
Most internet kids aren’t truly homeless. Many could easily live with parents or relatives but find the cafes convenient.
Manga cafes — unlimited free sugar, video games, movies, manga. Many kids may feel it’s better than home.