The truth about living in Japan

Beyond the picturesque mountainscapes and vibrant red Tori gates lies a world of concrete skyscrapers and fashion victims.

Monday, July 11, 2005

It just gets worse

As if living here isn't punishment enough, especially as summer strikes with it's repulsive stench and the dripping humidity they call the rainy season.

There's some lie being circulated that Japan is a safe country with a low crime rate. I think there's just a low reported crime rate because the Japanese police are largely useless and there's just too many people, so crimes become impossible to investigate. But honestly, in all my years of life I've never been so exposed to theft as I have in Japan.

It's very normal for umbrellas to be stolen in Japan. It's so common that I have to wonder why people spend any money on umbrellas in the first place since it appears to me that there's a cultural umbrella trade that is most active on any rainy day. I, personally, have only had three umbrellas stolen. That's not many compared with the average loss.

Today I headed off to work only to discover my bicycle was stolen during the night, or even in the morning. Jeremy's bicycle too. Our bikes were parked on our property, behind the fence that borders our apartment building. This is the first bicycle I've had stolen, but I have had one vandalised by the psychotic old bitch who lived down the way from me in Kyoto.

Of course, Japanese people love to blame the crimes on "foreigners", with Koreans being their favoured target and all other non-Japanese nationalities close behind, but I have strong doubts that "gaijins" are responsible for my losses.

It's like the Japanese people forget about their own personal mafia, the Yakuza, who are seriously involved in criminal activity that has roots in almost all industries and even the government. Not that I think my bicycle has been stolen by Yakuza, it's not nearly a serious enough crime. In fact, in Japan it's just a daily occurence, when I report it to the police, they'll probably laugh at me.

This is NOT the crime-free country that it's depicted as being, not even close. I lived in Australia for 26 years and I've only ever had one thing stolen, my wallet. I've lived in Japan for less than 2 years. So there it is, the truth about living in Japan.


At 10:04 am, Blogger Youssef Sleiman said...

Keep it coming, Eliza. This was one myth I didn't believe but couldn't disprove without firsthand accounts.


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