香山リカのココロの万華鏡:あなただけじゃない /東京

(Mainichi Japan) December 31, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: The importance of welcoming the New Year together
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:あなただけじゃない /東京

The New Year's holiday is rather short this time.

Even if we spend only two to three days away from our workplaces, however, it is a tradition in Japan on the last day of work to tell our colleagues, "You were kind to me during this past year, have a good New Year," as well as to ask for their kindness during the new year when we see them for the first time in January.

We have formed a habit to think that everything is reset with the beginning of a new year.

However, there are things, such as sadness, illness and anguish, which unfortunately, do not disappear easily, even with the end of a year and the beginning of a new one.

This year in particular, with the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disaster, I believe there are many people who will welcome 2012 with still lingering anxieties.

We should not forget about these people.

In 2008, many "temporary workers" who had lost their jobs were invited to spend New Year's Eve and the first days of 2009 in the so-called tent camp, "Toshikoshi Hakenmura," or "New Year's Village for Temporary Workers," in the Hibiya area in Tokyo.

The next year, the so-called "Kosetsu Hakenmura" (Public Village for Temporary Workers) was organized, inviting unemployed people, or those living alone, to spend the holiday with others. They were given food, some money to use for transportation while looking for jobs, and a place to spend these traditionally important days.

However, since then, there hasn't been a single large-scale "New Year's Village."

I'm sure that there are many reasons, but it is a fact that there were many people who criticized such events, believing that they were used by some who "don't try hard to reconstruct their lives." Some thought of the events as a waste of taxpayer's money.

That some continued to struggle under difficult conditions while others reaped the benefits of the "villages" may have appeared unreasonable. It may have made the people at those "villages" seem coddled.

But is this really the case?

In my opinion, the "New Year's Villages" may have helped more than those who were the ostensible recipients of care.

A patient of mine, who is unemployed and single, told me the following at the time:

"I have my own apartment, so I welcomed the New Year there.

But it was reassuring just knowing that if I became really lonely, I could go to Hibiya, where there would have been people and warm food."

We all want to spend the end of a year and the beginning of a new year with someone.

I assume that this feeling is even stronger among people who usually feel lonely or depressed.

For those who have lost their homes, jobs, and families, all the more so.

I wish that on a year like 2011, there were such places across Japan, where everyone would gather, shoulder to shoulder, and welcome the New Year together.

You are not the only one who feels lonely.

We all feel that way.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2011年12月27日 地方版

0 件のコメント: