Friday, April 26, 2013

Public Action

Something is happening.
My cultural activity for today was supposed to be to explore the park right up the street from here, Memorial Park of Arisugawa-no-miya. True to what seems to have become form, I left much later in the day than I planned and only walked the length of east side of the park, south to north. The continuation of the roadway was so intriguing, I had to take it. As I moved along I noticed a lot of cops. At first I thought they were just traffic cops out for rush-hour duty. It became clear though, that they were not the least bit interested in traffic. Their numbers increased along the route and became concentrated in one area. I thought maybe there was going to be some big diplomat coming through. If you take the link for the park, you'll see a list of the embassies in the area. A lot of these cops were holding long sticks, also strange for traffic duty. Then I passed one that had a shied on the ground by his feet. The sticks are to hold the shield, crowd-control shields. Cops make me nervous, so I minded my own business and kept walking. After a while, low and behold I recognized where I was - back in Roppongi.
For awhile I had been hearing someone on a loud speaker. That is not unusual here. I have often seen a truck driving around with a billboard on its bed of a nursing mother. My level of Japanese couldn't begin to parse what was coming out of the bullhorns mounted on the cab. Once I got to where I could look down Roppongi-dori, I saw the source...
Of course, I don't know what this is about, because I can't understand what the guy is saying. He was pretty fervent, then there is the other guy waving the flag. Whenever you have one guy waving a flag in conjunction with a guy with loud speakers attached to the top of a van, folks holding placards and cops around, you've got something going down.
 I'm thinking this can't have anything to do with all those cops that I had passed. There were too many of them, too few of these guys and they are widely separated. I took my shots and moved on.
Roppongi Hills rent-a-cops
Guys (and gals) with flags and things.
Real Tokyo cops.
I decide to not tempt fate as I have in the past and returned the same way I came, just on the other side of the street. You walkers will know that a street can look really different from the other side. There was an Indian spice store that I did not notice on the way up. I ducked into it, bought some curry powder and some kind of fried potato snack. When I come out, what should be passing in front of me but this motley crew with the flag-waver, accompanied by a female police office. I let them pass and follow. We end-up where all those cops were concentrated, who when we arrive, start putting out more traffic cones and begin to construct barriers. All the while this group is chatting amiably with the female officer. I have a desire to hang out and see what develops, but then remember that I don't like to be around a lot of cops with batons and crowd-control shields. I head south.


  1. The vans or cars with speakers are very often "Japanists"... the Japanese version of Neo Nazis in Germany.... apparently, they can be very dangerous if provoked....
    I don't know if that is what was going on there.

  2. I thought as much, but didn't want to be the one to say so. Everyone seemed slightly embarrassed by it all.

  3. On the other hand, it seemed to me that two of the guys were actors. There was a professionalism to their stance and movements.