Net users largely sympathize with a pair of girls in Tokyo’s popular youth culture shopping district over the reason for their tears.

On the last day of the Heisei era, Japanese Twitter user @frozen_food was walking near Tokyo’s Shibuya Station when he caught sight of an unfortunate scene: two crying girls. While there’s nothing particularly uncommon about seeing children crying in public every so often, this particular pair weren’t upset by a quarrel or a low test score or anything like that. Instead, the reason was something much more unexpected.

“Today, in front of the Hachiko entrance ticket gate at Shibuya Station, I passed by two girls who were walking while crying. Just as I was wondering if something bad had happened to them, one of them commented, ‘It’s too smelly here…’ as the tears streamed down her face. I can’t believe there’s a place where people cry just because it’s stinky enough.”

▼ The famous scramble intersection outside of Shibuya Station near where the encounter took place

While @frozen_food’s post doesn’t specify the approximate age of the girls, the smell must be have been extraordinarily strong for it to cause tears, regardless of whether they were young children or teenagers.

Net user reactions were largely sympathetic with the girls. Many of them chimed in with their own stories involving olfactory offenses in the capital’s trendiest districts: 

“I get it…I get it perfectly…Shibuya is smelly.”

“The odor was definitely bad enough that I thought ‘Huh?’ when I went to Shibuya the day before yesterday. It smelled like a toilet.”

“In Shibuya, water in the drains that’s probably there to mask the drainage smell rising to the surface occasionally dries up. There are times when it smells bad enough to want to hold your breath while walking. However, it doesn’t smell that way every day and only happens by chance. It’s not that Shibuya’s dirty enough to make the area smelly. I want to offer an explanation to foreigners and sightseers who only happen to be in Shibuya for one day.” 

▼ A typical view down one of Shibuya’s shopping streets, with a street drain also visible

“I have a feeling that the smell from the drains between Shibuya’s Bunkamura-dori and Center Gai is a consequence of the [nearby] Udagawa River…being diverted underground in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Afterwards it was converted into the main line of the sewer. The result of the area as a whole becoming stinky might reflect the stupidity of humans.”   

“In Shibuya it smells like the sewer, in Shinjuku it smells like clothes after a rainfall, and in Ikebukuro it smells like garbage. It’s definitely terrible if you grew up in the countryside…”

It looks like despite its reputation as an overall clean country, even Japan’s cities can’t always escape from the smelly plight of urban centers around the world. Perhaps visitors to Tokyo would be safest spritzing on a pleasant scent before their visit. May we suggest some fragrance of sumo wrestler?

Source: Twitter/@frozen_food via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Pakutaso
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