New truck.

I bought a truck last week. It is almost an antique. 1993 Kei Suzuki Carry. 20,000 kms. Engine size, 660 cc. Small but  really handy.  You can see from the last 2 photos one of the uses I have for it. There is another important reason I bought it. We needed a second vehicle because of a problem we have been trying to solve.  A Japanese stalker.

I am a unsure if stalker is the correct word. Someone who was waiting on the road where my 2 children walk to school, is there a word for that?

I live on a dirt road which ‘Y’s’ off a country road about 20 meters before my house. My road ends in tea fields. The other road is a farmers road that leads to more tea fields and passes my house at an elevation in which drivers, if they are driving slowly, can see into my upstairs windows. That road is only used by about 2 locals that grow  tea and then only in a limited season. Basically I live in an area where I know when and who is going to be passing on the road. The country road heads out the other way towards the bus stop my children use. It ends in a “T”. You can go left or right and both take you to the bus stop and the real “main” road.

I noticed a while back that there is one local, named Nakaya,  who neither farms tea nor has any other business passing my house driving by at about 10 kms per hour on the farming road. He would take his time and although it was difficult to tell if he was looking into my daughters bedroom window because of the angle and how dirty his car window was I assumed he must want something to be passing so slowly and frequently on that road. I actually ran up one day when he was there and confronted him. I told him in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t have business in that area it might look strange for him to be passing so slowly at eye level in front of a girls bedroom window. He actually stopped taking the road for quite a few months.

I next started hearing things from my children that Nakaya was hanging at the “T” junction every morning and evening as they headed to or came back from school. I also saw him there on a couple of occasions when I happened to be going somewhere at about the time school lets out. I found it strange but the road ‘T’s’ in a part of this hamlet that is more central and it is possible he had business there. A couple of weeks ago my wife told me a strange story about what had happened that morning. Both my son and daughter walked to the “T” and went left to get to the bus stop. Nakaya was in his car just down the road from where they were walking. As they got closer he got out of his car. My daughter got scared and turned around to walk the other way around to get to the bus stop. As they both got around to the the other side, still heading to the bus stop, lo and behold, Nakaya had gotten back into his car and driven around to ‘be’ in their path. It just so happened my wife was also there and both children got into our car and she drove them the last couple of hundred meters to the bus stop.

When I heard that Nakaya had escalated his, up to this point, passive stalking I went to his house to take it to him. If he had a problem with me I wanted him to settle it there with me, if not I  warned I would call the police next time he pulled his tricks. I insisted his wife witness the ‘talk’. Things didn’t go well. At first he insisted he hadn’t done anything at all. I then abandoned the part of being reasonable and tried to get him to understand he needed to stop or the police would become involved. His reaction was very interesting. I think one can read intention by body language and delivery of language. The content of the language is also important but the stance taken during the delivery is equally important. Nakaya exploded in anger when I pressed the point that he was playing with having the police called. Exploded in an interesting way. He started to scream at me unintelligible words. They came out of his mouth but everything about him suggested no threat. Hands at side, head perfectly straight and not pointed at me. Just words spewing from his mouth.

When I got back to my house my wife called the local police to explain the situation and get advice.

That day I went to work and my wife stayed at home to meet our children at the bus stop. On the way back from work I stopped at the nearest neighbor’s house to talk to the “kucho”, something like the head of the neighborhood watch. After me making it clear I wanted to go with the Kucho to Nakaya’s house to reiterate my  warning about the police that is exactly what we did. The next day we got a call from the police asking about the whole situation. We explained everything and later that day had a visit from the local officer. Since that day they have gone to talk to Nakaya twice, drove by our house everyday for about the first week and were at the bus for about the first couple of weeks.

I will say I have been very satisfied about the way the Japanese and the authorities have handled this. I often hear from non-Japanese and experts on the NBR Asian list about how backwards and hostile to foreigners Japan is. They describe a country I mostly don’t recognize. I do have criticisms of Japan but I have found the Japanese to be very responsive to my calls for help in mediating problems I have had.

About togeii

I have lived in Japan for 19 years doing ceramics almost the whole time. I have a wood burning noborigama and a long snake kiln.. I
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