All About Japan

Keeping the Streets Clean on Halloween

| Halloween , Tokyo

Halloween has finally caught on in a big way here in Japan. Sadly, though, all of this hard-fought progress is in danger of going to waste, for no sooner has Japan achieved the status of a fun event than it’s starting to earn a stigma as a dirty one.

Tokyo’s Shibuya and Roppongi neighborhoods, two of the biggest nightlife centers in the city, are the sites of its liveliest Halloween gatherings. On the Friday and Saturday preceding or coinciding with October 31, revelers pack the streets, showing off their costumes, snapping pictures, and hopping from one party venue to another. But while the ghosts, goblins, witches, and warlocks are gone come the morning, their unsightly piles of trash are left behind on the sidewalks.

To help combat this problem, Internet portal &Tokyo and volunteer organization Green Bird will be handing out trash bags in Shibuya and Roppongi on Friday, October 28, and Saturday, October 29, 2016. Hopefully this will cut down on litter by encouraging people to cart their trash to a designated collection point or, if they can’t find one, to take their garbage home with them instead of tossing it on the sidewalk. And to add at least a little bit of festive fun to being a courteous partier, the trash bags are styled like Jack-‘o-lanterns, so as they fill up with trash they look increasingly like decorative pumpkins.

In Shibuya, bags will be handed out between noon and 11 p.m. near the Shibuya Station Moai statues, in front of the Mark City entertainment center, Tower Records, select Lawson convenience stores, and, on Saturday only, at the entrance to the 109 shopping tower. Bags can be obtained in Roppongi between noon and 10 p.m. at the Tokyo Midtown and Roppongi Crossing intersections, as well as at select Lawson branches.

Still, given the huge amount of trash left behind after Tokyo’s Halloween celebrations in 2014 and 2015, it’s unlikely that the plan will instantly and completely eliminate litter. Because of that, Green Bird is recruiting volunteers for clean-up teams to be out taking care of any messes on the mornings of October 29 and 30. Those interested can sign up here, but hopefully 2016’s Halloween crowds can remember to clean up after themselves so this year’s volunteers have less work to do than last year’s.

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