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Visiting Tokyo's finest

JAPAN | Friday, 24 November 2006 | Views [1970] | Comments [1]

So I had the pleasure of heading down to the local police station a few weeks ago because my bike got stolen. I kind of inherited the bike from another guy who had gone back to America, so I wasn't too destroyed over it, but it was still a wrench to be liberated from it, as I used it often to get about town.

Bikes in Japan are a big deal. There are thousands, and each bike is registered to the owner, who must carry the registration with him when he uses it- I used to keep mine with my ID card, so no big deal. Policemen frequently stop people on bikes to inspect their worthiness, check the lights and to inspect the licence.

So I had whizzed home one night and parked outside. Yes, I'll admit it, stupidly, I didn't lock it because I was only popping inside to get my Jiu-Jitsu gear before heading out again, it was right outside my house, daytime so of course, nobody would steal it in 5 minutes would they? Well yes they would! On coming back down to the street, I had found it gone. Bewildered, I wandered around for a bit, thinking it had been moved, but then I came to the conclusion that it had been half-hitched.

So with this, I headed off to the local police station, betrayal whirring around in my head, "Japanese are kind, honest people, how could someone steal my bike...."! As soon as I wandered to the front desk of the Koban, which is a little police outpost, three heads looked up, and immidiately a stand-off began- would it be Japanese or English?

After the silence continued for a few seconds, I perked up in Japanese, "I think somebody stole my bike". I was asked whether I had parked it illegally, because here in Japan there are companies affiliated to the police who take away bikes which are left on the street by stations etc- because they have the registration number they know who you are, and soon you get a notice to pay $80 dollars and to come and pick it up. This fortunately was not the case for me, but is an excellent money earner for the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

On finding that there was a set procedure with which to deal with this foreigner, the officer happily walked me through the Japanese form which dealt with stolen bikes- I slowly penned my name and address and what not, then at the end sealed it three times in ink with my fingerprint- the officer told me that this happens often, and in all probability it was either a student or a business man heading from the station to home, my bike invitingly ready for the taking half way between.

The officer was however optimistic about the chances of recovery- he said that often these bikes are taken by the person, they get to their destination and then they just leave it, with either the parking company taking them away, or the police finding it and entering it into the system to see who's it is.

However, that was a month ago, and I am still walking. And every time I see a white Muji bike, I look suspiciously at it's rider.....

Tags: Scams & Robberies



Happy Birthday.
Have a good one.


  Martin Dec 7, 2006 8:58 AM

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