Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Crime, Safety and the Law in Japan

Foreigners Vs The Law of Japan

A couple of weeks ago, I met a friend at the train station with the intention of going for food. As she was tired and I had my bike, we thought that it would be harmless enough if she popped onto the back (there’s plenty of room) and held on tight for the two minutes that it would take to whizz around the corner. After all, we had done it a few times before, and seen countless pairs of giggling Japanese teenagers do the same.

Barely had we moved two feet, when two apparent Japanese civilians stopped us. I thought “ohh, they might be crazy people… or Mormons!” as they started talking to us. I had my foot on the pedal, ready to make my escape, when they flashed two police badges. 

“Two people riding on a bike is dangerous, it’s forbidden” they said in Japanese.
Panic gripped my stomach, and I didn’t need to turn around and look at my friend to tell that she was thinking the same thing. They spoke no English, so we were able to pull the “I don’t understand Japanese” card, which wasn’t far off as they used what sounded to me like archaic, complex sentences that most foreigners wouldn’t understand. We showed them our foreigner cards and humbly apologized a few times; images of jail, hefty fines and being fired flashing through my mind. They took down my bike’s registration number and even asked for our company’s address. However, after that they thanked us and sent us on our way  

This is not an accurate representation
As far as I can tell, that was the end of it. I might be hit with a stern call from my company at some point, but I think that they wrote us off as stupid foreigners and let us go on our merry way. Then I started to think… were they really police officers? They could have flashed toy badges at us, and we would have been too surprised to pay attention or to question it. Could any two citizens play cop in order to take people’s information? I asked around, and it turns out that Japan is FULL of undercover police officers. They could be anywhere, at anytime. No wonder the general population is so well behaved, here… you never know who to trust. When any stranger has the potential to turn around and arrest you, you must be on your best behaviour at all times. I suppose that a lack of apparent serious crime leads to the police obsessing over pettier matters like how many people are riding on a bike – it is worth pointing out, at this point, that it is not a legal requirement here to wear a helmet while cycling, and that I have only seen perhaps two people wearing one in my time here.

However, my brush with the law pales in comparison to other stories. For example, a friend of mine (let’s call him Dean) was dating a Japanese girl. After a whole two weeks, she declared her undying love for him. He promptly freaked out and broke up with her (smooooooth). Apparently not the most mentally stable of ladies, she turned up at his door one night, crying, screaming and trying to kick his door down. A few days later, Dean was interrupted by police officers, asking why people had reported hearing a woman’s screams from his apartment a few days earlier. They eyed him with suspicion and took all of his details, despite the fact that no women had gone missing or reported any crimes.

Still, the prize for rough police treatment has to go to another friend of mine. We’ll call him Greg. Greg was out drinking one night, and the next thing he knew, he was handcuffed to a chair, a policeman shouting angrily into his face – in Japanese. He understood enough to say “Where’s my lawyer?” but ultimately had no idea how he’d ended up there. It turns out that he’d reportedly punched a club owner, and while he had no recollection of this, his own ribs and knees felt broken. Believing that Greg couldn’t speak Japanese, they tried to make him sign what he understood to be a confession. When he pointed out that he could read it, they apologized profusely. Possibly unable to charge him with a crime due to his memory loss, they still kept him incarcerated for eleven days before releasing him.

Eleven days without charge? That’s right. In Japan, prisoners can be kept for up 28 days without charge. But one of the friends that Greg made during his stay had been there for four months without charge. What was Greg's experience like? Well, in his own words…

"Japan is unique in that, while boasting a modernised society, its law enforcement methods are constantly under attack by human rights groups worldwide. I got to experience some of this firsthand. As Gwynnie said, the police attempted to get me to sign "confession" papers on a number of occasions. Often, the translator (who they finally allowed to meet me) would only give the detectives the parts they wanted to hear, who in turn expected me to roll over and take it lying down. They promised me that, if I admitted to the crime (whether I had done it or not), the process would be much easier and quicker to get me out of jail. I knew this wasn't likely true, and so I only told the detectives the facts that I knew, over and over.

As far as the police holding facility goes, it was an interesting experience. The method of torture employed there was boredom. Imagine being kept in a cell for 23.5 hours a day with literally nothing to do. Had I understood more Japanese than I did at the time, I could have read some manga they had, but sadly my choices were extremely limited. The guards were, surprisingly, extremely kind and even funny people. They would joke with us, chat with us upon occasion, and always be ready to serve us hot tea upon request. The food was better than the lunches I generally get at work, too! Sounds like not that terrible a time, right? Well...when you consider that you're not allowed a single phone call out (even at the time of your arrest), you can only bathe once every five days, and you're stuck in a very small cell with 2-3 other people with literally nothing to do...it's genuinely a horrible time.

I passed the time most days by running through movies in my head. I'd recall each scene and every bit of dialogue until I couldn't stand it anymore. Then I'd move on to another movie or book in my head. I'd attempt to chat with the Japanese inmates kept with me, but most times they didn't want to talk to anyone. It wasn't until some friends visited me and brought me books (in English!) that my boredom was truly given quarter."

Ready to help you....?

What if this happens to me?

So, what should you do, should you find yourself in this kind of situation? Well, firstly you have the right to remain silent. However, as Greg quietly points out, they also have the right to beat you up until you talk. While you are not legally entitled to see a free lawyer unless your case is going to trial, you can dig into your personal funds (private attorneys are likely to charge around $5000/£3000 per case). You are, however, entitled to one free consultation with a touban-bengoshi (duty attorney) who can give you initial advice about your situation, your rights, the outlook for your case and more general information on procedures in Japan.

Here is the US embassy's guide to arrests in Japan. It covers the duty attorney system as well a
s arrest procedures, daily life in a prison, sentencing and deportation. Click here to link to the British embassy's guide, which also includes what to do if you are the victim of a crime in Japan.
Still, there are worse countries to be arrested in. In fact, Japan doesn’t make it onto RoadJunky’s 10 Countries Where You Don’t Want To Be Arrested, although the USA does. Their advice of “Travel there by all means but memorise the number of a good lawyer before you go” won’t do much good if, like Greg’s Japanese captors, they don’t let you call a lawyer or your company to explain why you’re 11 days late for work.

Crime and Safety
Japan is a country that boasts a low crime rate. When asked about the sheer concentration of violent pornography in your average comic (aimed at a 12-year-old), my Japanese friend responds “well, there’s less rape in Japan than in other countries.” Another interesting idea that I’ve heard is that Japan doesn’t have a homeless problem. Wow, what is this crime-free, poverty-free utopia, where women can safely walk the streets at night and everybody has adequate housing? Sign me up!

This cute little thing is a police box
If you’d like to look at the statistics, then here . We are still talking 2,853,739 “total crimes" (from a population of 127,560,000), which I assume to be in the last year - not exactly "crime free". Still, compare it to the U.K. with 6,523,706 (from a population of 61,838,154 ). You may also notice a category marked “executions” – yes, capital punishment is still legal in Japan, and 9 people were executed this year alone. While the death penalty is reserved only for serial murderers (oh, and treason – check the Wikipedia article), there is something questionable about the method. Prisoners on death row are kept in solitary confinement, sometimes for years, with no idea of their execution date. They are only told on the day. The family aren’t notified until afterwards, when they are asked to pick up the body.

Japan: A Crime-Free Utopia?

So, statistics aside, just how safe is Japan? I don’t need a set of figures to tell you what I see every day. While I have friends here who feel safe enough to leave their apartment doors unlocked (even when they aren’t home), I know of many girls who have been followed home, stalked, touched inappropriately and even raped. Still, none of them have reported these attacks to the police. Why not? Because they are foreign, and the stalkers and rapists in question were Japanese. It is an unhappy fact that most foreigners feel that they will be ignored or discriminated against, especially if they accuse a Japanese person of committing a crime. Think of Dean – he was treated as suspicious, but would he have been treated in the same way if he was Japanese? And Greg… while he was beaten up, his Japanese opponent walked away scratch free, and yet... which one of them was arrested? This lack of crime reporting can only skew the figures in favour of the “foreigners commit all the crimes here” attitude that many Japanese people seem to posses, and that is a sad thing.

Also, let’s go back to my friend’s comment – “Japan has less rape”. Could this be due to a lack of reporting crime, or perhaps – as this interesting article suggests, a gender bias when it comes to dealing with female victims of male sexual assault? It is a large issue to speculate, and one that I should deal with in a separate article. Other statements that people throw around are “there is little violent crime in Japan” and “there are no homeless people”. The first can be disproved by my female friend who was kicked in the ribs by an angry man, as she tried to break up a fight between him and her friend. The second is easily disproved here in Hamamatsu by the crowd that gathers by the South exit of the station at night, or the man in the tent on the side of the road (I suppose, at least, he has a tent – in other countries, it would have been stolen). It may not be as apparent as it is when you take ten minutes to walk through Manchester, where homeless people sit under ATMs asking for change, chavs smash bus stops and bottles, students in microscopic skirts vomit on the streets and stumble home (what a pretty picture I paint), but there are cracks in Japan’s glossy veneer. 
So, what are your experiences? Have you found yourself on the wrong side of the law in Japan? Has a policeman helped you? Have you been the victim of a crime? Please share your experiences! I'm sorry that the tone of this article was a bit more depressing than my usual cheery adventures, but Japan is a country like any other, populated by humans, and after living here since March I am starting to see beneath the shiny "kawaii" exterior.

Essential Japanese
In case you ever need to deal with the police in Japan, here are some useful Japanese words and phrases! You can call it Dealing With Police or the Law and Reporting Crime in Japan: Essential Japanese.

警察官 Keisatsukan – Police officer
交番 ― Kouban (Often spelt KOBAN in Romaji in Japan)– Police box.
Tasukette kudasai! – Please help me.
Nihongo wa wakarimasen. Eigo o hanasemasu ka? – I don’t understand Japanese. Can you speak English?
Watashi wa ______ o wasurete-shimaimashita – I have (unfortunately) lost my ______.
Watashi no _______ ga nusumaremashita – My ______ was stolen.
Saifu – Wallet
Keitai denwa – Mobile Phone
Okane – Money
Watashi wa kougekisaremashita - I was attacked
_______ wa dochira desu ka? – Which way is it to _______?
Bengoshi ga irimasu – I need a lawyer. (*Fun fact: You are not entitled to a lawyer unless your case is actually going to trial. Don't expect the same rights that you have in your own country.)
Bengoshi wa doko desu ka?? - Where is my lawyer??
Honyaku-sha - Translator (Replace the word "Bengoshi" with this for "I need a translator" etc)
Touban-bengoshi - Duty Attorney (*Anybody arrested in Japan is entitled to one free consultation with one.)


  1. Aren't you a teacher?
    Teachers are meant to be role models for children...even outside the school.

    Doing unsafe things like putting more people on a bicycle than it's made for, jaywalking, riding a bicycle while listening to a Walkman, using a cell-phone while walking are all bad examples for children and therefore teachers don't do them.

    Saying that you saw teenagers do it isn't an excuse...they follow your example not the other way around!

  2. Hey "anonymous". Yes, I am a teacher. On this occasion, I honestly didn't know that it was illegal for someone to ride on the back of my bike. That may sound stupid, and ignorance is no excuse, but after seeing so many other people doing it I determined that it might have been acceptable. I mean, I have a massive space on the back of my bike, we're not just talking about somebody hovering above the back wheel. So, what's your stance on helmet wearing? Surely it's even more dangerous to cycle around without a helmet, and yet there is no law about that. I don't think I've seen more than two people wearing helmets on bicycles. Also, I've definitely seen teachers (even principals) from my schools driving and talking on their phones at the same time.

    While of course we have to remember, as teachers, to always set a good example for children even outside of schools, I'm just saying that I don't really see that happening all that much. When teachers come in and tell the children "hey, I'm really hungover, I was drinking all weekend!" it's hardly a good example... yet, I'm pretty sure that most children are going to look up to their Japanese teachers rather than the foreigner.

    Anyway, yes, it was still unsafe. Sure, we weren't even on a road, it was for two seconds and I had foolishly assumed that it was OK because I'd seen so many other people doing it, and in a society where most people seem to be law-abiding it didn't cross my mind that they might all be breaking the law so casually. A moment of stupidity, but I owned up to it for the sake of writing this piece. Perhaps that decision will come back to haunt me... still, if somebody has read this and remembers it when they're considering hopping on the back of their friend's bike, I might have helped save them from trouble or an accident. Remember, teachers are humans, too.. how many of them do you know?

  3. Thanks for the article, Gwynnie, it was extremely interesting! I'd heard that the Japanese application of capital punishment was particularly harsh, but I'm anti-death penalty in any case, so I suppose I would find it harsh.

    It's also interesting to compare the status of a foreigner in Japan with the status of the same in India. From the stories I heard, white British people were often treated better than ordinary Indians by the police. For example, a colleague had got himself in trouble when taking what turned out to be an unofficial taxi, and it was only his physical build which stopped something more serious happening. When he reported it to the police, they found the offenders and offered to hold one of them down so he could beat them up! I also felt more priviledged as a white, (relatively) rich Western person over there, but that sort of status is obviously unlikely in Japan for economic and historic reasons. India has a long way to go to escape its past!

  4. I'm a German-Japanese born in Japan.
    My mother language is Japanese.
    Some mistakes in your Essential Japanese
    So, please correct.

    ×Nihongo o wakarimasen.
    ◎Nihongo wa wakarimasen.

    ×Watashi no ______ o wasure-shimaimashita
    ◎Watashi wa ______ o wasurete-shimaimashita

    ×Watashi no _______ o nusumaremashita
    ◎Watashi no _______ ga nusumaremashita

  5. I'm a German-Japanese born in Japan.

    Partially I agree with you, But totally, I don't.
    I also have gotten a harsh treatment from a Japanese police officer.
    So,I don't like them too and sometimes hate them.

    ◆But, compared with other nation's policeman, Japanese policeman is far more better.

    Because Japanese policeman is basically polite and gentle and never get the bribe and never discriminate foreigners by their skin colors or nationalities,,, and so on.
    Of course, Japanese cops never punch or kick the citizen meaninglessly, which occurred in many other countries.

    Furthermore, Japanese cops even sometimes give money for the troubled person in an urgency
    and never get the bribe from citizens.
    On the other hand, other nation's cops often get the bribe.

    ◆I think we should judge the things in comparison.

    To be sure, Japanese policeman is not so good.
    But relatively, they are much better than rude and violent and dirty cops of other nations in the world.

    I think we should keep in mind these things.

  6. This is vise versa.
    My friend of Japanese had once driven a car after drunk a little with me in US.
    He seemed stopped by a cop and was jailed & fined $5K though he did not cause any accidents.
    He said the reason was that he could not have explained well and it seemed acribed to drunk.
    His English is not good enough and I think that is why.
    Such is 'The foreigner vs the law in a country'.
    But we did not get paranoid unlike you.
    If one does not trust a foreign country, he/she had better leave there.

  7. The present Japanese police was organized segregated people about 100 years ago.

    They lived discriminated villages in poverty before the then Japanese government gave them new social status and stable income as policemen.

    So almost all policemen are obstinate and adoring the Mikado family who is also guaranteed by Japanese law.

    In other words, it is the only way to live in Japan for them.

    By the way, because the foreigner and the woman were discriminated in Japan of Edo period, the police might have the sense managed easily still now.

    I worry that Japan will become like China some decades ago or North Korea where the nation strangely has power if the economical recession is continued.

  8. >>The present Japanese police was organized >>segregated people about 100 years ago.
    >>They lived discriminated villages in poverty >>before the then Japanese government gave them >>new social status and stable income as >>policemen.
    >>By the way, because the foreigner and the >>woman were discriminated in Japan of Edo >>period, the police might have the sense >>managed easily still now.

    Are you a Korean who is anti-Japanese?
    That's a bullshit.
    Don't say a lie like that.
    And Don't disdain Japan and Japanese people
    by prevailing such a deep red bullfinch.

  9. I'm a Japanese and not a liar.

  10. >>I'm a Japanese and not a liar.

    You are a Japanese.
    Then, please show the evidence of what you are saying, in Japanese(not English).

    I'll reply in Japanese.

  11. 日本の警察の起源として、被差別部落の構成員が導入されたというのは、多くの日本人が知らない事実です。




  12. >>日本の警察の起源として、被差別部落の構成員が導



  13. when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

    If you wan't to do this, dont' come to Japan.
    White People always force his opinions and ideas on other country and othe people.

  14. 朝鮮人と思われて、一体何が不都合なんでしょうか?



  15. 外人だったら許されるとハメ外す馬鹿が多すぎなんだよ。

  16. >If one does not trust a foreign country, he/she had better leave there.

    Really? That's a rather interesting statement.

    This is "Greg" referenced in the post above, by the way.

    I guess to get the root at what you're saying, I would ask this: If your employment is contingent upon you being in Japan, would you really leave the country if you didn't trust its government? Gotta have income from somewhere.

    I don't trust the government here at all, but then, I don't trust my home nation's government either. In my situation, is it best to renounce all countries and become a stateless person?

    Despite my experience at the hands of law enforcement in Japan, my time could have been much worse. I met people on the "inside" who had been beaten up until they would sign a confession that had been written for them by the detectives. How could I possibly trust a country in which things like that occur regularly? But, at the same time, I didn't move here to place my trust in the government---I moved here to teach English, and that's what I'm doing (and in spite of it all, having a pretty good time doing it!).

    I would condemn anyone who suggests that people who don't trust a country should leave it. If Japan were only filled with foreigners who only shed light on how "great and wonderful" everything in Japan is, how is that any different than propaganda? I find this blog refreshing, because you get not only the good, but also the bad.

    Props to you, Gwynnie.

  17. Hi there!
    I have found this article such an interesting read as in recent months (whilst applying to do Japanese at universities) I have been developing an interest in the legal system in Japan, especially concerning women and foreigners as well as the treatment of women in Japan.
    I've found it a great insight and have particularly found some of the links an interesting read.
    I also though I'd like to link you to something I found: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101028f1.html
    I think it'll be interesting to see how policies towards foreigners will turn out...

  18. Thank you for all the comments. To the Anonymously posting guys who are arguing, as everyone is posting as "Anonymous", that is pretty confusing.
    I'm not saying that the Japanese legal system, or police, are worse than other countries. Far from it. I know that the police are FAR more corrupt in some other countries. When I was in Egypt, I was warned by a tour guide that even the police were open to bribery, and that they would try to get tips (baksheesh) from naive tourists for things like taking a photo for you - and that, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. To be honest, I have a natural distrust of authority, which I'm sure could be psychoanalysed in some way (I KNOW it can) but there we go.

    I wrote this article to give people an idea of what they can expect here. Most of what I wrote was based on true stories from people I know, the rest observations and insights into people's conceptions about crime here. It is not saying that I don't trust anyone, nor is it an attack on Japan in any way. If you perceive it like that, perhaps it is just an error in translation..

  19. >I would condemn anyone who suggests that people who don't trust a country should leave it.

    Condemn? Then, what happens? Are you such a big shot?
    Staying in such country whose police cannot be trusted is weired and far beyond my understanding.

  20. I think the point was that if you don't trust the police/government ANYWHERE (not just Japan), then what are you supposed to do? Having a natural distrust of authority extends beyond the country itself. For example, if I didn't trust the authorities in my own country, should I leave and never come back?

  21. mini-suka(skirt) police XD

    First of all, I'm really sorry that some poor Japanese messed up your blog in Japanese.

    I can understand your feeling against Japanese police;however, I don't think the Japanese policeman treated you harshly because you are a foreigner. He will do the same thing to me if I were in the same situation with you.

    Japanese policeman often uses police questioning to forestall crimes. This is very important task for them, and it really works in Japan. He might also makes your feeling bad because of the lack of the English skills.

    I think that Japanese policeman is not so bad though the citizens all over the world often have distrust to police. Please imagine how your police treats foreigners in your country.

    Especially in western countries, police treats Asians badly. I've never had such an experience, but my friend has once. He was almost caught by police because he didn't speak English well in U.S.

    I hope you enjoy your life in Japan!

  22. Different anonymous!27 May 2011 at 13:50

    I have had personal experience with the Japanese police on a couple of occasions, and have also been called upon to interpret at a few incidents, including one traffic accident (in this particular accident the blame lame completely with the other driver, who ignored a stop sign and came straight out onto a major thoroughfare) where the police openly discussed how they might as well blame the foreigner, until they realized that I spoke Japanese. I have also had the "pleasure" of instructing at English language classes for Japanese police where the sentiments displayed towards non-Japanese in Japan were disturbing to say the least.

    Japan is, by and large, a safe, pleasant place to live. But I do not trust the police here - specifically I do not trust them to uphold the law if it favors me over a Japanese person in any incident whatsoever.

  23. Yeah, and let's not excuse the Japanese police just because the police in Afghanistan, or other third-world country, are worse. Last time I checked, Japan was a first-world country and therefore should act like it. I always hear Japan saying how it wants to "internationalize", and be "a global superpower", and have significance in the world. Well get your damn act together then!

    If the Japanese police are "not so bad" just because the police in Afghanistan are worse, then Japan might as well be a third-world country. Why market yourself as first-world if you can't play the part?

  24. Last I checked the U.S has been holding some foreign people they can't or refuse to charge with a crime in chain link fence dog cages for about ten years now. Doesn't say much for 'first world' countries.Don't really see the link between wealth and moral superiority. E.U. might be different I guess as far as rights go.

  25. On the Shizuoka tv news today a report about a Hamamatsu ALT (assistant language teacher) arrested this week for growing, distributing, and possessing marijuanna. A school board official (off the record) said there is a big problem with the city ALTs a.k.a. foreign teachers doing things against the law. Arrested for drunk driving, drugs, and petty things like your friend Greg all add up to create a bad image.

  26. Story above involved an Interac teacher BTW.

  27. Really interesting! I always go out of my way to do the right thing because the police are constantly stopping me and interrogating me on the streets for no other reason than because I'm there. I've had to miss my bus/train in the past to answer their questions. A number of colleagues of color and one who is white have told me of similar harassment. Once, two men jumped out from behind some bushes and flashed their badges and proceeded to question me on my way home from work. From what I gather, they want to make sure I'm not a sex worker or an illegal immigrant or both. Sucks that I look like I might be South East Asian. Sucks even more for South East Asians.

    But my school principal has been really supportive and recently called a bunch of different authorities to report that I'm being singled out. And they told me I have the right to not say anything, just present my gaijin card. I also have the right to ask for the officer's name and branch.

    A Jamaican friend of mine went to the police to report her bag was stolen a few months ago. They ended up yelling at her and telling her she's selfish and wasting their time and only in Japan to make money. I was followed for about one hour by a Japanese man wearing a black tracksuit one night. He turned around and ran away when he saw my neighborhood koban. But of course I didn't report the incident because I felt that I would be blamed and I didn't want any more trauma at that point.

  28. Shiv, I'm sorry to hear about you being singled out like that. I think I know your friend who was shouted at, too!

    Anon, yes, I know the marijuana story and I know the guy. I feel so, so awful for him right now. He's a good guy, a decent, chilled out, kind and genuine person. Of course it reflects badly on foreigners. It's a shame that people let the actions of one represent many, and that so many have jumped to his condemnation. It's crazy to be that the punishment is so severe for owning a little bit of a plant that grows naturally, and I'm glad to live in a country where cannabis - while illegal - is decriminalised! As for those who have been arrested (there were at least two, I believe), I very much hope that they are simply deported and not made to suffer at the hands of the Japanese jail system.

  29. "It's crazy to be that the punishment is so severe for owning a little bit of a plant that grows naturally"

    FYI - It was 20 plants, GROWING and DISTRIBUTING. I don't care how his personality was, a teacher should not be doing that. He has disgraced the foreign community in Hamamatsu and ALTs in Shizuoka. As well 2 other Interact teachers have gone down since for drug possession. People THIS IS NOT THE NETHERLANDS! It is Japan and Drug crimes here are severe. If you enjoy that lifestyle, go home.

  30. Gwynnie,
    Thank god that teacher friend of yours was not in Singapore when he decided to grow and sell Marijuana!! If so, he would be lucky if he only spent many years in prison.

  31. Innocent bystander23 April 2012 at 12:42

    i was just reading a piece on your trip to hachijojima and came across this link. Interesting story I must say...but the most interesting part was the japanese dude correcting your japanese and wanting to pick a fight...man...this guy should get a life.

    I dont have a good impression of police here myself..only have to read japantoday articles to get your daily fix of policemen doing extremely stupid things...but lets all be japanese and shoganai this and accept them for who they are...good direction givers & map readers.

  32. I love your blog! And your advice is truly priceless and so appreciated... Sumeimasen.. You have obviously never been confronted by a New York City cop (if only for being in the wrong place at the wrong time). You want to be loose and live by your own rules, then live in filthy, crime ridden Brooklyn or Detroit -where you can scream your lungs out and no one will care to even call for help. You want to live in a place where people are considerate, call the police when they hear someone scream, and live in a clean neighborhood, then live in Japan. I am probably more naive than I'd like to admit, but maybe being confronted 1984 style by authorities is the price paid for not being on the same page of the book you have chosen to read.

  33. Yes, it would be wonderful if the world would lighten up.