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This year, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood made a major push to establish itself as the place to celebrate Halloween in Japan’s capital. Things got off to a pretty low-key but still impressively creative start with a costume contest on one of the local train lines, but that was nothing compared to how jumping Shibuya was on the night of October 31.

Unfortunately, when you funnel that many people into one place, some of them are going to exhibit some pretty poor manners, as evidenced by the mounds of litter some revelers left behind. In response, volunteers sprang into action cleaning up the trash, but instead of a pat on the back for their hard work, some Twitter users decided to take them to task for what they felt was a shameless play for attention.

This year seems to have marked a sort of tipping point, where Japan finally celebrated Halloween in large enough numbers to make it more than just a tiny niche event. Adding to the atmosphere was the fact that October 31 fell on a Friday, which also just happened to be the start of a three-day weekend in Japan.

So just how many people showed up on All Hallow’s Eve in Shibuya? This many.

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The sea of humanity overflowed the plaza in front of Shibuya Station, spilling over and across the neighborhood’s famous Scramble Intersection. Over 200 police officers were on hand to make sure things didn’t get out of hand, and while the night ended with no major injuries or violence, Tokyo’s finest didn’t do as thorough a job of stopping litterbugs.

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Compared to block parties held in other metropolitan centers around the globe, that might not look too bad, but by Japanese standards, those are some pretty filthy conditions.

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▼ Litter even showed up in bathrooms.

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Of course, the only person who benefits from littering is the litterer, who gets back those absolutely precious seconds they would have had to spend searching for a trash can. Everyone else was less than thrilled with how Shibuya looked in the morning.

“Some people were only interested in their own enjoyment on Halloween in Shibuya, and left a bunch of litter. Just unbelievable.”

“Nothing wrong with having a good time, but there are things called rules, you know? Where do these jerks get off leaving such a mess in Shibuya? Trash goes in the trash cans. Even preschoolers can understand that.”

“From next year, I’m fine with no Halloween.”

In a happy twist, though, when the sun came up it shone on not just piles of thoughtless party leftovers, but also on groups of volunteers picking them up. Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and dining destinations, and the volunteers had it looking presentable again for the non-costumed Saturday afternoon crowds.

▼ That’s not to say none of the volunteers were dressed up, though.

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“I just got done picking up trash in Shibuya,” tweeted one of the volunteers, along with pictures of his group and the trash-strewn streets. “Going a little crazy is fine, but throwing this much litter around is out of line. There was even more than we’d imagined. Some people were still in costume, and if they saw us picking up trash, I hope it made them think a little. We’ll be out again at the next big event.”

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As volunteers, obviously no one was expecting a reward or compensation for their work. So it must have come as a shock to the several volunteers who shared their trash-collecting experiences through social media to come under attack through those same channels for their conscientious efforts.

“I see people who go to the trouble of tweeting pictures of themselves picking up trash, and I feel like they’re only doing it to say, ‘Hey, I’m picking up trash! Look at how great I am!’”

“I know the people picking up trash don’t feel that way, but sharing photos of yourself picking up garbage on trash-covered streets just seems weird.”

“I think the litterers are bad, but the volunteers who show up the next day and say, ‘I’m picking up trash!’ are messed up in the head, too LOL Those hypocrites just want something in return for what they did LOL The people who really worked the hardest are the ones who had to clean up in front of their stores before they opened the next day.”

Just like when Japanese fans at last summer’s World Cup were criticized by some for picking up after themselves, it seems no good deed goes unpunished, or at least un-complained about. The seesawing series of faith-in-humanity-destroying and restoring events that had now gone from mass littering to helpful volunteer work to accusations of hypocrisy wasn’t quite done yet, though. After the first wave of whining about the volunteers spread, other Japanese Twitter users came to their defense.

“As long as the volunteers are cleaning up other peoples’ messes for them, I don’t see what anyone has to complain about.”

“Some people say the volunteers only tweeted their pictures because they want others to think they’re good people, but the fact of the matter is they are doing something good.”

“So, ‘just shut up and pick up our trash,’ huh?…Letting people know there’s a problem acts as a future deterrent…Seriously, think about what’s going on before you go spouting off!”

“The lazy bums who’re griping about the volunteers but couldn’t be bothered to pitch in are the real jerks.”

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So to everyone who put trash into trash bins, whether it was yours or someone else’s, we’d like to say thank you. And to everyone who didn’t, how about next Halloween, instead of going out to celebrate, you just have a party at home, where you can surround yourself with as much filthy trash as you did everyone else in Shibuya.

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Twimg, Twitter (1, 2, 3)