Love Japan but was stopped regularly for walking while white in Downtown Tokyo and when I complained people always accused me of being a whiner. After a strange incident, Arakawa police admitted that they train young rookies by giving them “profiles” so they can have experience “interacting with the community” and somehow my description fit the list. Apparently, they did some internal paperwork and magically I was never stopped again after getting harassed on a regular basis. The problem is Japanese community policing is about identifying patterns that are out of the ordinary, and being a foreigner can be just that!
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@japan T My understanding is that they're perfectly legal (went to a lawyer at one point.). As long as the officer has an excuse, it's considered an "investigation".
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Police have admitted to me that they do a type of profiling. Ever notice how it's often younger officers that stop you? If you look the role and have a "normal" routine you may very well never be stopped, but trainees are given profiles and told to find as many WALDOS as they can, Casual dress on a mamachari at the wrong time and a certain hairstyle may get you nabbed. I was being stopped almost weekly in Arakawa. I got stopped in front of my own shop where a picture of me was hanging and finally after years of cooperation went ballistic after the officer began asking stupid questions to trip me up. ("shopping? Where? Oh, there's no such store near here!"). I put in a complaint, and also snapped and tweeted a picture of the cops (don't do that, it's illegal!) --called the precinct and complained. The community officer came to my shop explained that the officers were young and acted inappropriately. Since the I've only been stopped twice in 2 years and both times were my fault (biking with earphones.). --I don't recommend angrily confronting officers, but if it happens routinely, log and document it and ask to meet with the community relations officer. (I'm sorry, I forgot the Japanese word...)
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Has anyone used TWMC in Arakawa? The place is a joke!!!
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@kurisupisu True about the suicide. About the bending over... this has been debated and I've actually looked for statistics and consulted with a researcher who's actually studied the problem of bone density in Japanese women but could not conclusively answer the question. The general cultural belief is that it was from bending over in the rice fields; however, it can be observed in many shitamachi (working/poor) obasan who never worked in the rice fields... Another cultural belief was that popularity of Western Tables and Chairs are the reason for the elimination of the phenomena... all of this information is purely anecdotal. It would be an interesting topic for a story though!!! :D
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Thank you everyone for your kind compliments.
@masswipe For the record, although it is true that I'm an American, the reason I compared the standard of living to the US is because US, China and Japan are the top three largest economies in the world, and Americans have traditionally believed themselves to have the highest standard of living in the world. -- Your observations on America's view of its own government is also an interesting point. The story was shortened by myself, and in its original length also included a comparison to the typical American and Japanese person's view of government which according to the OECD survey are pretty much the same.
For the record, I have really bad ADHD and praise the team of editors who worked on editing my inevitable goofs, while presenting the article as I wrote it, and I appreciate everyone's feedback. I've been a reader of JT for years and am happy to now appear in it. As an aggregateoriginal content provider of hard news, culture and opinion, there is no website that beats JAPAN TODAY and I'm proud to be part of it.
Off to SENDAI... Cheers!!!
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NHK Poll says that 52% of people surveyed living near a nuclear reactor said they were for nuclear energy... I don't think we're going to find much of an anti-nuke movement... though this could lead to a moderate change of tide... TEPCO's bumbling response to disaster has lead to some anger... but Japanese people are quick to apologize and except responsibility... Will it be any different this time. My worry: What happens when the tokai earthquake comes... Is Hamaoka ready for it?
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There are a lot of shortages and logistical problems because of the quake... I wonder if that has anything to do with it as well.
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knowbetter, sengaku38 It seems I'm not the only person who was skeptical when we were told that the "rolling blackouts" will cease by summer... I think we're headed for deep doo doo. Have any Japanese media offered any explanations how they're planning to resolve the problem by then?
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Has anyone figured out how Tokyo is going to be able to maintain regular train service and offer power? So far no rolling black-outs in my area... my friend had two... TEPCO said outages until the end of next month, but I don't understand how they can fix the problem by then (This article suggests 6 months.) Has anyone heard anything on Japanese media about what's going on?
As for life in Tokyo... supermarket had no food for one week (Actually I'm in Saitama), then yesterday stocked back up. Couldn't get my paycheck (Mizuho bank having problems.) Supermarket not taking credit cards.
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