Shibuya meltdown

Craigory Sparks
4 min readAug 29, 2019


Shibuya is a ward in Tokyo where the Japanese go, after a brutal day of work, to relieve themselves from the pressure of existence. This traditional undertaking of psychological sublimation is referred to by the locals as the Shibuya Meltdown. The Meltdown is typically performed in three acts. The first act always includes a mass consumption of sake and or beer by the participants. The second act requires a scene where the players perform long monologues filled with boasting, gossip, insipid complaints and silly nonsensical declarations of importance. The third and final act comes when one or all pass out and retire in an inappropriate place for sleeping. For example, the third act below takes place at a Ramen shop counter with a warm delicious bowl of soup as a pillow.

Shibuya Ramen Meltdown

Sometimes, during the second act, that often takes place at a Karaoke bar, one of the players, knowing the third act is about to come on, will convince everyone else to make their way to the aforementioned Ramen bar. This actor, who traditionally wears an extra slim, tapered at the thigh skinny suit costume, will usually find the relocation process a bit too challenging, for he is overflowing with destiny and Kirin Ichibans. This usually brings on the third act prematurely and results in a photo-bombable meltdown onto the Shibuya sidewalk stage and into the Instagram abyss for all eternity.

With friends like these…

Others prefer to perform the third act by bicycle.

All these animals were harmed in the making of this film.

The Shibuya Meltdown when played out properly can be seen as a form of high art. It is often recognized by experts in the area of visual arts as one of those rare moments where one gets to witness life unintentionally imitating art.

But, what is it about the Shibuya Meltdown that can turn a perfectly responsible middle-aged business man into half-naked inebriated artistic masterpiece asleep on the Tokyo subway? Some say it’s a poor work life balance, combined with a culture full of compassion for fellow lush puppies. Others, believe it was just meant to happen since the beginning of time.

Whatever it may be, it just warms your heart knowing that this gentleman is out there in the world, in his condition, with his wallet safely tucked away in his extra slim solid black modern suit trouser pocket. His iPhone in the other. No harm being done to him whatsoever, except for that which he has set upon himself. Creating life, becoming who he is, and greeting riders on their way to their next Shibuya meltdown.

If after reading this, the Shibuya Meltdown get scribbled onto your bucket list of things to do before you croak, remember these ancient Japanese words of advise:

Sake before beer you’re in the clear. Beer before sake… you’re a douchebag! Always pace yourself.

See more meltdowns and people asleep and dreaming at the anonymous Instagram page shibuyameltdown.