POLICE, TOKYO

Near Roppongi there are a lot of police – all the time. I believe that this is due to it being a diplomat area. China, Korea, Qatar, Pakistan, Finland, Germany – there are a lot of embassies near our home.

Makes you feel safe, that is for sure – but it is also a little odd.

The police have these roll out barriers everywhere. These are used for crowd and traffic control. The odd things is that to hold a demonstration, you have to file a notice with the police (read more here) so they would have lots of opportunity to deploy these when required. Instead, they are on street corners all over Minato – accompanied by cones, large plastic boxes (containing who-knows-what) and these tire busting contraptions.

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This is the Chinese embassy. There is always someone in that van idling with the air conditioning on. I had to snap this shot quick, they do not like photos around the Chinese embassy for some reason ….

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Perhaps the street barricades are to lean on. Of course, no shortage of pylons.

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And of course, the officer is properly masked – a truly Japanese custom.

TOKYO POLICE ACADEMY

It seems that regardless of country, students always get stuck doing manual labor to “build character”. In this case it is weeding and cutting the grass (with their hands) at the Tokyo police academy.

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There must have been 200 of them. The only difference between them and their brethren everywhere ? Most of them were wearing a face mask.

TOKYO POLICE TRAP

In Canada (or the US or anywhere else in the world) a police speed trap involves a police person with a radar gun hidden to the side, someone to wave the victim down and a few chase cars just in case.

Not in Tokyo. This is what it looks like; one with a wand and the other standing to the side with white gloves. Yes, white gloves.

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On a personal note, this is how I got a $70 ticket for turning the wrong way on a stop sign. Seriously .. taken down by a police office on foot! Funny thing is that after being pulled over by the officer on foot, 9 additional officers showed up quickly to assist with the whole communication thing.

I am not too distraught over the ticket as the 1st time I got pulled over I played the language barrier card and after saying “No, sumimasen (apologies), no ticket, warning please, arigato (thank-you)” about 40 times over 10 minutes, multiple mystery conversations on the walkie-talkie,  I got let off by 2 very confused police officers.

Every day is an adventure.

TOKYO POLICE

There are a LOT of police in Tokyo. I mean a LOT. Seems like every few blocks you run into a group of them. You don’t see many police cars and the one time that I was flagged down, it was the police officer stepping onto the road.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Tokyo is so safe (although I think it is more cultural, than due to police presence).

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I am always driving past these fellows and I have yet to figure out what they do. They just stare at the passing cars, sometimes a whistle in their mouth just waiting to be blown. At other times holding their walkie-talkie and watching the traffic drive by.

Always staring. Never moving. I don’t understand. (smile)

A JAPANESE PROTEST

I walk past the Chinese embassy on the way to to work and it is always guarded by 4 or 5 permanently stationed police officers.

The other day I had to run to a meeting and was walking by just as a protest began. It made me smile, as it was “very Japanese”. Here were the steps in the protest:

1. Protesters lined up in an orderly manner with a number of police officers beside them on a side street so they would not disrupt traffic. One police officer had a flag. To be that well organized, they must have called ahead as there were police everywhere.

2. At the appointed moment the “protesters” march in single file to an appointed spot.

3. Protesters unfurl their banner, with one of the ends dropping and a police officer rushing to help the protester and get the banner properly displayed.

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4. Protesters line up behind the fence and banner with lead protester reading out some statements and stopping for the other protestors to raise their fists in unison and yell something. Repeat.

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I wish I would have had my camera … and count the police to protestor ratio (smile). There were another 10 police officers on the other side of the street.