Street Spirits is a monthly feature in which someone who lives on the street tells us their story.

Tokuchika Nishi: Dancer and street vendor in Tokyo

Tokukicha Nishi, 39, has a purposeful gaze and long hair that he has been growing out since his beloved cat passed away. He became a Big Issue Japan vendor in July 2017. Monday through Friday, Mr. Nishi sells papers from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in front of the ‘Konaka The Flag’ store, near JR Shimbashi Station’s Ginza Exit and from 8 to 10pm in front of the bus terminal at JR Shinjuku Station’s South Exit.

Cella Jones: Mother, sci-fi lover, Richmondite

The first time I meet Cella Jones, she popped her head out of her tent at the 22nd Street Richmond encampment, the largest camp in Richmond. The camp, where about 60 people live, has been ‘posted’ for two weeks later, which means the residents have been scheduled to be evicted soon, and all their belongings will be cleared away.

Tim Nishibori on addiction and optimism

Tim Nishibori disappears into the depths of his cramped but cavernous shack, which sits near the end of a strip of trailers and tents in West Oakland. His gray pit bull, Lady, plays hostess, entertaining me with enthusiastic kisses by the makeshift gate as Nishibori rummages around. Eventually, he emerges with two chairs, and invites me into his home. “Sorry about the mess,” he says

Geno the barber: look good to do good

The first thing I notice about Geno is his impeccable sense of style: standing by the tent encampment under I-580 at Magnolia and 35th, he’s wearing khakis and a fitted olive-green sweater, boot-laced sneakers as clean as they come, and a spiffy straw fedora. He sports a large stud in one ear, and his beard is pristinely groomed. He looks like a suave sentinel, a GQ model moonlighting as—in his words—“the tent city’s point person.”