This way please…

I was on my way to meeting up with my friends yesterday, and arrived about 15 minutes early. So I decided to wait in the warmth of the underground rather than go outside. While I was waiting I noticed quite a strange group of people. There were 4 Asian girls being questioned by one man and filmed by another. 何かあやしいと思った…  ~_~;

Now the main reason this looked slightly sketchy was because:

1) The girls look scared and..

2) Despite having my music on, I could sense there was an obvious language barrier.

So I turned my music off and heard one of the men asking one of the girls to follow him upstairs so he could get her name and address. 絶対あやしい! And then I realised the girls were Japanese. Of course that’s when I butted in. Turns out one of the girls had almost been robbed on the train, and the man questioning her was actually a cop in civilian. And the man with camera was filming a documentary about the police in London.

First of all the girls had been unsure about whether this man in civilian was in fact a policeman to begin with (which definitely explains their fear and reluctance to give him any information), and second of all, they barely understood what he was saying. Both the policeman and the girls were very happy and grateful that I happened to be there at that time. And I’m glad I somehow managed to help with my broken Japanese.

But it just got me to thinking how police differ from country to country. In Japan you will most likely be able to find a kouban (police box) almost every where (at least in big cities), and the police men wear uniforms (although I’m sure there are also civilian cops). But already, in the eyes of tourist, the signs are much clearer.

And what about safety. You often hear that Japan has a really low crime rate, and if you were to drop your wallet someone would come running after you to return it. Would anyone in Japan take advantage of a lost tourist to rob them? I wonder…

For all of you that have been to or lived in Japan, is it as safe as rumoured to be? Are the police helpful? Would they be able to help an English speaking tourist? Let me know in your comments!



2 thoughts on “This way please…

  1. In my experience Japan is the safe country it’s rumoured to be. I used to walk home in Hamamatsu at night and never felt unsafe. I think Tokyo is a bit less safe though, as any large city can be. The only time I ever really spoke to police in Japan was when they came round to check who lived in which houses – a normal thing apparently. I was a bit freaked out to see police standing at my door, but they were very nice and we managed to communicate with my poor Japanese.


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