Folk Belief

If you beg for three days, you will make so much money you will never go back to your regular job

Kathy heard this belief from her mother, a Japanese citizen.  It is common for people in the Japanese culture to believe that if a person takes three days off from their job and begs for money on the street they will make such a good living that they will never go back to their old job.

Kathy heard this belief when she was very young, circa 1960.  Because she grew up with this saying, it accounted for her initial and lasting impression of homeless beggars.  Her mom originally told her this belief because she was going to give money to a beggar on the street.  Her mom explained that with few exceptions, many beggars are completely capable of working, however they choose to be lazy and sit while collecting money.  This belief stuck with my informant.  She believes that “many times it is just a lazy convenience and they put on an act of being destitute or unable to work, when in fact they are making a darn good living.”  Kathy does not believe it is fair to the rest of the population that works very hard for their money.  She believes that it is easy money in some aspects; however, in other ways it is not.  Beggars on the street cannot have any sense of pride.  They cannot be proud of themselves in front of their children if they need to beg for income.  As soon as a beggar is able to swallow their pride, and decide to reach incredible lows, their “job” is easy.  Kathy feels as if they are preying on people that are sensitive and sympathetic, which is wrong.

I found this belief very strange.  I am a very sympathetic person and often give money to those in need.  I personally don’t mind what they do with the money; I just want to be able to think I have contributed to any amount of happiness to another person.  If they are indeed capable of working and they want to beg on the streets, I still sympathize for their state of mind.  I also don’t believe that someone can make a substantial living begging for money on the street.