Saturday, July 17, 2010

But is it safe?

But is is safe to go there, is something my mother would ask, but she didn't. With a slight memory of the war, she was quite interested to hear about Japan. So far as personal security goes, I felt safer on Japan streets than I do in my home city of Melbourne. In Tokyo we stayed in an area renown for its down and outs, yet they just go about their business of being homeless without bothering anyone.

Our Friend in Japan, V, suggests that bicycle theft is a problem in Japan. This surprises me. I think it is more likely that a bike is just borrowed. I can be idealistic from afar can't I? She indicates that most bikes are registered and police check bicycle registration.

Not only did I feel safer on the streets of Japan, I was also less concerned about my personal belongings when out and about than I would have been at home, or anywhere else I have been.

I had started to get a handle on this by the time we travelled north. R and I were seated separately on the Limited Express from Hachinohe to Hirosaki. The woman sitting next to me either did not like foreigners, or was just snooty. Regardless, she went off to the toilet and left her handbag on the seat next to me. Snooty racist cow wouldn't have even missed the few thousand yen I nicked from her bag. Well, of course I didn't, but I certainly could have, very easily.

I have seen a bag snatch perpetrated by a smack head on a foreign Asian tourist in Melbourne. It was not pretty and I felt some shame that a visitor to our city will have such a bad memory.

V's friend C took his very proper Japanese parents in law to Ireland, his home country and had to really impress upon them about the security of their personal belongings while out and about in Ireland.

Speaking of C, sorry if I have already said this, I can't recall, but he overpaid for something at his local Japanese Post Office. Whatever he sent had his return address on it, and after he arrived home, the staff member who accidentally overcharged him knocked on his door and returned the fifty cents or so he had been overcharged. Ho, like that would happen in an Australian post office.

There must be crime in Japan. Hey, we have all heard of the Yakuza, the crime gangs and their nasty doings, but really, for day to day living, it is a very safe place to live and without the anti social behaviour to found here in Australia and other western countries. Why? I don't really know, but I will elaborate in another post.


  1. That would explain why tourists often appear to leave themselves wide open to being mugged/ripped off, etc.
    Sad it's our own country it happens in.

  2. I have to ask is Tokyo as Multicultural as Melbourne? In Australia we have so many different gangs from white and aboriginal Australian, Tongan, Samoan, Lebanese, italian, Chinese, Somalian, bikers of all races - who all want to kill each other - which along with the Australian arm of the Mafia foster huge shipments of drugs and violence onto the general population.

    At the bottom of this pyramid of organised crime are the drug addicts who are desparate and all shades in between.

    In Japan are there whole suburbs which house only white people, or only Somalians - creating the divisions I have witnessed in Sydney around Hurstville and Blacktown? In Blacktown 10,000 Somalians were plopped there all together over the past decade - and the voilence between them and the chinese, and the whites and aboriginals is breathtaking.

    I don't think its as simple a thing as comparing one country to another - and to even mention the almost hatred coming all ways between groups of different races is in our too sensitive society almost verbotten...but it is real and exists - in our jails each goup sticks to its own colour, creed or culture for protection.

    Its not the dreaded white people against the world - in jail the chinese and aboriginals hate each other. The Tongans and Samoans absolutely hate the Lebanese and Indians!!!

    In Japanese jails I would hazard a guess that the bulk of thise in jail are Japanese with a few Koreans...

    The Australia of the 60's was such that you could go down town and leave your house open...mum used to do this. I never locked my car till about 10 years ago -
    so what has changed.

    respect for property and for the vulnerable does not seem to be a high priority today where material possessions and self gratification seems to be first priority.

    I think its complicated - in China even with the death penalty serving up the world's need for organ "donation" Crime is pretty high - maybe its the futility of life at lower levels who knows...

    Maybe in japan the main crimes are corporate and government based?

    You have made me think Andrew - thanks for that - I look forward to reading what you say in your next post.

  3. Jayne, would certainly go for Japanese tourists. I would guess the same for South Korean and the only others we get in numbers are mainland Chinese. Not sure about them.

    MC. Tokyo certainly isn't multi cultural. As you say there are the Koreans, but I cannot tell them apart from the Japanese. I think I saw two dark skinned people apart from a couple of US from the army base. R thought quite a number looked Chinese, but I could agree nor disagree.

    Always the first generation congregate together in certain suburbs then subsequently spread among society. I hope I am wrong, but I have no confidence that this will happen with those from Somalia and Ethiopia. It has come to the point where you are taken aback when you hear an Anglo name on the crime reports in the news. There clearly is a problem. The problems of today seem to go back to high Lebanon intake in the eighties and nineties.

    However, I am not sure that I blame inappropriate immigration numbers from certain areas for not being able to leave you car unlocked. I'll just blame American tv and UK tv for that matter. Well, the lack of discipline by parents over their children and wherever that came from. Once maturity is reached, I have no problem with parents being friends with their children. But it is not the role of parents of young children to be friends with them. While I like the way children are now openly loved, I do not like the lack of boundaries or rules. Ah, I could go on. I am preaching to the converted. You know what I mean.

  4. aaah here it is.

  5. But Fen, you were going to say something?