Police Chase – Tokyo Style
Last night: I can’t sleep, so at 3:30am I decide to head down to the 24 hour ¥100 shop for some fruit juice.
As I arrive, I notice raised voices from the direction of the police box on the other side of the street about 100m or so down the road, and as I look towards it see a man on a bicycle cycling along the footpath in my direction closely followed by a policeman on another bicycle shouting at him to stop.
The man says something indistinguishable and rides on until he reaches the zebra crossing directly opposite me. The “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals are red so he stops there (of course there are no cars on the road, this being 3:45 or so, but in Japan people always obey the traffic lights).
He’s a bit unsteady on his feet so I assume he’s drunk. The policeman pulls up next to him, asks him to stop riding and talk. The man, clearly disinterested and smoking a cigarette, abuses the policeman, and as the lights have now changed, rides across the zebra crossing and past me, and then away along the footpath. He’s closely followed again by the policeman who continues shouting at him to stop, and the man continues shouting dismissive comments back over his shoulder as he rides on, ignoring the requests.
50m further on however, the man pulls over, gets off his bicycle and parks it as does the policeman, still with a raised voice. The man hurls a final piece of abuse, turns his back on the policeman, calmly walks into a building and shuts the door, leaving the protesting man in uniform on the street alone.
For 30 seconds or so the policeman stands there thinking. He looks up and down the street, looks back at the door.
And then, in apparent resignation, walks back to his bicycle and rides away.
This is Japan.