Even when he’s not dressed as a glam rocker, Mr. Sato can’t help but draw the suspicion of Tokyo law enforcement.

A lot of foreigners living in Japan get questioned by police on the street every once in a while to get their paperwork checked. It’s an unfortunate part of life in this country, but for the most part it’s at least a painless experience.

However, you might be surprised to learn that our own Mr. Sato also has this problem. For reasons that he is not entirely sure of, our veteran reporter is something of a lightning rod when it comes to random police searches.

Surely, some of it has to do with his lifestyle, working flexible hours in an office environment that embraces Bon Jovi T-shirts and face paint in its dress code. Mr. Sato often finds himself dressed casually – or occasionally as a post-apocalyptic warrior – and walking around in the middle of a weekday when most men his age would be chained to a desk.

▼ Just another day at the office

Still, among all of the staff at his office, only Mr. Sato is a police magnet. Despite being as gentle and delicate as a piece of two-ply toilet paper, our writer can’t help but transmit some air of criminality to police.

Earlier this year, Mr. Sato had gotten a call from his friend and colleague Butch. Despite living a similar lifestyle to Mr. Sato and wearing a blond mohawk, gold chains, and tattoos, Butch somehow managed to rarely have run-ins with the law himself.

“Yo man, this is Butch A-K-A Big Wave! You’ll never believe what happened! I got stopped by the 5-0!”

“Really! Did they search through your bag like they always do to me?” asked Mr. Sato.

“Naw man. Turned out the guy was a fan and recognized me from the time I waited for the iPhone 7! Dude just wanted some signed merch, peep the Instagram yo!”

Although it was hard to be mad at Butch, inside Mr. Sato was seething with frustration at what was going on. The last time he got stopped it was right in front of his own office building. As the officer combed through his belongings, he advised Mr. Sato to always go in and out of the office with a co-worker to help avoid these situations.

He decided that the next police officer who stopped him would be getting some questioning themselves. Luckily, that only took a few days, and after asking the officer what exactly he did that caused the intervention, he told our reporter that it was his eyes.

Apparently, while walking down the street, Mr. Sato looked at a patrol car and then looked away. It was that simple gesture that attracted the police’s attention.

▼ Reenactment: First, looking over at a police car

▼ Then quickly looking down at a puddle of dog urine so as not to arouse suspicion

While he could see why that appeared suspicious, doesn’t everyone do that? It’s only natural to look over when one sees a cop car, because that usually means some out-of-the-ordinary stuff is going down. And of course, no one in their right mind would stare down a cop – that’s just asking for trouble.

Nevertheless, trouble continued to find Mr. Sato, so he finally decided to face the police himself and ask what it is about him that makes him suspicious. He put on a dark cap and pair of sunglasses to protect his sensitive eyes from the sun’s rays and zipped up a black hoodie so as not to catch a cold in the autumn wind. Then he headed to his local police box, but not the one where his co-workers were almost arrested for public indecency… They might be biased.

Mr. Sato stormed into the small shack, looked the officer on duty straight in the eyes and demanded, “Excuse me. So…um, I was just wondering… You see, I get stopped by the police an awful lot, and I’m just wondering what it is I’m doing wrong. Is it the way I’m dressed?”

The officer looked Mr. Sato over and said, “It’s not because we’re judging the way you look. If that was suspicious then I’d be suspicious-looking too. Hahaha!”

Mr. Sato didn’t appreciate the levity in this serious matter, but it was good to know he wouldn’t have to invest in a whole new wardrobe. He pressed on, “So, is it the way I act or something? What kind of behaviour do you find suspicious?”

“Well,” the officer responded, “stuff like if I yell something and someone immediately looks the other way. Also, this neighborhood [Shinjuku 2-chome] is a high-priority area, so the officers around here are probably just being extraordinarily cautious.”

The man at the counter offered one last piece of advice to Mr. Sato: “You know, if any member of the police is giving you a hard time you can report them to the police. If the situation is serious enough they’ll be punished.”

Although common sense when he thought about it, it never really occurred to Mr. Sato that he could always call the police on the police if needed. It also made him realize that his questionings so far haven’t been all that bad. It was more the fact that he seemed to get singled out.

And that problem seemed largely due to working in an area of town so bad that it earned the delightful euphemism of “high-priority area” by law enforcement. Perhaps if Mr. Sato worked hard at strengthening the community, it could become a place so safe that police would no longer feel the need to investigate him.

But that’s a pretty tall order for our lovably suspicious reporter, whose recent accomplishments include learning to pole dance and eating snow off the ground. So for now he’ll just have to help out by cooperating with the police whenever they stop him on the street.

Photos: SoraNews24
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