Monday, 17 August 2009

How safe is Tokyo?



Saturday night, around 12:30am, I was having a drink on the South side.
People gather here late, while the weather is good.
Musicians often play and sing, just outside the station, or across the road where there are some small pedestals and the taxi rank.
Usually there's a good mix of characters, and some down and outs.
This Japanese guy started talking to me about football.
At first, I thought he might be homeless.
This area of Koenji gets a bit messy with food boxes and cans scattered around.
The guy gets up and collects all the shit into a big plastic bag and throws it at the restaurant across the road.
In the pics above, you can just make out the restaurant in the background where people are eating outside, too. He's not in the pic.
So, it falls short of its target and lands half on the path, half in the gutter.
He stands there staring at the restaurant staff and customers as they look at him and quickly look away.
It's Japan, they won't do anything. He more than likely knows it. But he looked ready for a punch up.
Good on him. Some of the crap came from that restaurant, he told me.
He said Japanese people can be dirty, and he likes a clean area to sit and relax.
I bid him good night and he went on his way.

To add to that, there was also a guitarist playing there.
He'd left his stuff and just walked off somewhere, out of sight.
It was a good guitar, I'd heard him play. His bags were left, too.
I took a pic above.
There were two other guys playing with an amp across the road and their guitars were drowning him, so I thought that he just got pissed off and left.
30 minutes or so, he came back with a few friends and played again.

I don't know if he felt safe leaving all his stuff there with a trouble-making Japanese guy and an English man...he must have.
So, that night I saw two incidents that nobody wanted to intefere or take advantage of the situation.
Seems strange to think that back in England, a similar type place would have a gang of wankers, pissed out their heads looking for a fight.

To add to that, I was around Kabukicho, the red-light area of Shinjuku the previous weekend, with some mates, drunk, taking pics of the pimps and hos with no trouble whatsoever.

I like it. Different to England in so many ways.

1 comment:

onlyintokyo said...

Good post! It's something I picked up on too.. People over here are just too scared to say anything in case they disrupt the "harmony" or the cute fun good times. It's very odd and I don't really agree with it at all to be honest. If you got something to say, say it I think. No point bottling it all up and letting it bother you. It's completely different from Irish culture too.. People would hug you or even buy you a beer.

Is Japan safe? - yes I think so, well compared to most other countries. People generally don't touch what does not belong to them no matter how drunk they are. Odd! As I know for a fact that guitar would be smashed in eight pieces and even eaten on the pavements in Dublin.