I’m sick and disgusted with myself.
Today on my way home from a summer ministry trip planning meeting (wow that’s a long title), the trains stopped. It was a 人身事故, or, directly translated, a “human body accident.”
In Japan, this is used whenever a train collides with a person, more often than not a suicide. In fact, whenever I hear 人身事故 at a train station or on the news, I automatically assume that someone attempted or committed suicide.
Tonight was such a night. Walking back from the meeting, I see that a train is stopped right before the railroad crossing. Trains don’t usually do that for more than a couple minutes—it looked like it had been there for ages. I knew something wasn’t right. I had come to a conclusion—it was a 人身事故, or in my mind, a suicide. Soon, an ambulance and firetruck came to the station, sirens full blast. I am ashamed to admit that I was thrilled that my conclusion was correct—I had predicted something from deduction!—I was actually jumping up and down.
“Awesome! It’s a suicide! Now since we know that the trains won’t be running for about an hour, let’s go kill some time!” is basically what I said to the people that were with me. We wound up going to the station to see what was up, because one of our friends was already at the station to head home.
Now, keep in mind that were were a group of 20-30 people. Here we are, a majority of us foreigners, huddled together waiting at the train station so the trains could resume.
What was going through my mind and others’ as well, was “Great. This person just HAD to commit suicide and now I’m getting home late.” Not once did I think about the person or their family. But, being a group of Christians, we began praying by an adult leader’s suggestion.
Of course, we had all assumed that it was a suicide. Later we heard that the person just fell in. Two girls in our group saw the body—the tarps that were used to shield our eyes had draped down and they saw it. Needless to say, they were traumatized… I heard an EKG while the paramedics were carrying the victim away, so I knew that at least at that point the person was alive.
What is it with us, especially myself, that we’re so used to a suicide that we don’t even blink about it? This has to be said of the entire Japanese community. Instead of sympathizing with the family members and friends of lost ones, we shun the victim’s method of exit from this world. This is completely and utterly wrong, and I’m a part of the problem.
The whole thing that changed my perspective and made me realize how sick I am was the Christian community of those 20-30 people. People were breaking down crying. People were on their knees praying for the darkness in Japan to disappear, specifically the darkness in the form of suicide.
I need to change my mindset about suicide and right now I’m so disgusted with myself that I don’t know if I can sleep. And I have Spanish and Advanced Algebra finals tomorrow.
If I can get back to it, I will, but for now I’ll leave you with this: every 15 minutes, someone in Japan commits suicide.