Psychologists believe that residents of large cities lose their human nature and turn into selfish, indifferent urban monsters. In reality, residents of Tokyo demonstrate that metropolises are full of romantics. Their tradition, similar to Valentine’s Day, is a good example for the rest of us because it serves as collective psychotherapy.
Once a year, on January 31st, thousands of Japanese go out to the streets to tell each other about their feelings. Every time this impromptu holiday is filmed by local TV stations because there are plenty of interesting things are being told. Surprisingly, normally shy and reserved Japanese know how to open themselves and make public love confessions.
The "Love Message Yelling Event" is a fairly new tradition started by Kiyotaka Yamana, a Tokyo resident. Yamana was suffering from a depression caused by his divorce and even contemplated suicide. He was still in love with his wife who left him for another man. One day, Yamana decided to go out in the streets and share his pain with strangers. People in the streets listened to his yells carefully, and their attention cured Yamana’s wounds and rid him of suicidal thoughts.
He is now considered the ideologist of the "Love Message Yelling Event." He thinks that the holiday he invented helps the Japanese find balance they lost because of personal problems, and regain confidence. "The dominant image of Japanese men is of overworked businessmen, but I wanted to tell people around world that Japanese men are actually very romantic," Yamana said.
The event participants gather at the Hibiya Park in central Tokyo to yell about everything that pains them. Most of them suffer from unshared love, and their screams can melt the toughest heart. You can see a man in a suit with a face red from effort yelling “I love you, love you!” and his neighbor screaming “Please don’t reject me, we must be together!”
Some declarations reflected the gloomy economic situation: one husband, his voice choked up with tears, thanked his wife for staying with him although he lost his job more than a year ago.
Consistent growth in the number of people who fail to find a life partner is an alarming symptom for Japanese sociologists. The country has too many childless single people who dedicate their lives to work. The officials consider the "Love Message Yelling Event" a wonderful stimulus for those single Japanese who prefer to be alone because of their fear of personal failure. Yelling about one’s feelings is a great emotional outburst.
“My heart throbbed with excitement. It really touched me,” said a 38-year-old Ayako Kikuchi, holding the hand of husband Kenichi who had just finished yelling “Ayako, I love you” on the stage. “I feel refreshed after I yell, so, from now on, I'll tell my girl directly that I love her... but not this loud,” said a 27-year-old businessman Kenzaburo Cho after telling his fiancée: “Stay with me for all your life. I love you.”
There are those who do not need a partner to make love confessions. One kimono-clad woman, who said she was unmarried, confessed to the audience that she loved herself the most. Her antipode is a single man who said he wished to have a partner amused the crowd by crying out: “Anybody. Please... right now.” He might even get lucky – there is nothing more romantic than meeting a man capable of sharing his feelings with the entire world.
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