Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guilty of Being a Foreigner

I’ve been walking slowly each day as surgery recovery.  The better I feel the farther I walk.  I was walking down Eki Mae Dori, a fairly busy street leading to the train station, when a police car stopped and two local police officers got out. I hadn't crossed on red or jay walked, I was just walking down the sidewalk.   All the people in the cars going by were twisting their heads off to see what was going on. 

The two officers asked for my resident card and one copied all the information while the other asked me questions – What is my name, what am I doing, where do I live, where do I work, how long have I been here, how much longer will I stay, how do I like living here, etc.  Finally they gave my resident card back and told me if I get in an accident, call 110 (the Japanese equivalent of 911 in the US).  I've never been stopped before and couldn’t help asking why they stopped me now. The answer?  Because I don’t look Japanese.


  1. Ah! The joys of small town Hokkaido. I had that happen several times while up there but never in Tokyo. Still, another story to add to the collection for your memoirs:-)

  2. Goodness, at least they were nice to you...

  3. The police regularly come to each home to check the names of every household members. Drivers are often stopped at night for DUI checks. This is a country of 'control', of both Japanese and foreigners.
    I would not say that you are 'guilty of being a foreigner'. The authorities want to know who is where, and one reason is to know whom to look for in case of an earthquake or natural disaster.