What are friends for?

A grisly scene broke out in Yokosuka, Kanagawa last Thursday as self-proclaimed part-time worker Kazuhisa Aoki was walking along the street at about 8:10 p.m. in a drunken state. There, the 73-year-old Aoki came across a 75-year-old drinking buddy and stopped to talk.

However, Aoki quickly became agitated and things escalated quickly to the point that Aoki bit down on his friend’s hand and gnawed off both the pinky and ring fingers. One witness told Abema News “[the victim] was bleeding from the nose. But maybe all that blood came from… there, the fingers.”

The real shining light in this gruesome story is the residents who acted amazingly quickly and responsibly after hearing the commotion on the street. Some people called police while a nearby restaurant worker came out with some ice to hold the severed fingers until medical help arrived.

As of the initial reports, the drinking buddy was still undergoing surgery to have his digits reattached. Meanwhile, Aoki was taken into police custody where he is said to have admitted the crime, saying “I bit off the fingers.” However, he added that because he was drunk, his memory was hazy and he couldn’t remember why he did it.

Both Aoki’s motive and seemingly superhuman teeth were the cause of much speculation online.

“Wait, he bit the fingers… off?!”
“Did he become a titan?”
“At 73 those are some amazingly good teeth.”
“Either the one guy has really strong teeth or the other guy has really weak fingers.”
“Is he some kind of zombie?”
“Maybe he’s got some dentures equipped with blades.”

A lot of people also made a very clever observation about this story. In the Japanese media, suspects and victims are often described as either “unemployed”, “a company worker”, “a public worker”, or “a part-time worker.” In this case, the Japanese word for part-time work is “arubaito” based on the German word “arbeit.” However, to Japanese ears “arubaito” sounds identical to the English phrase “I’ll bite.”

Puns aside, the real question is how freakishly strong this guy’s teeth were. I’m about half his age and pretty sure I could never bite off someone’s fingers, not just because it would involve the nasty act of putting another person’s fingers in my mouth. I mean, even if I were forced into such a situation, after 10 minutes of fruitless gnawing without even breaking the skin, I’d have to turn to the Saw puppet and say, “Excuse me, sir? I don’t think you thought out this game very well.”

To learn more, I asked an acquaintance who is also a Japanese man in his 70s. He told me that his teeth too would be way too weak to pull something like that off, but he knew of other Japanese seniors who have extremely healthy teeth and don’t even bother going to the dentist.

He said that it might have to do with growing up after World War II. During those impoverished times children hardly had anything in the way of junk food to weaken their teeth and gums. So, perhaps a few of them have carried on for their entire lives never developing a taste for sweets and benefited with strong and healthy pearly whites well into old age.

▼ On the other hand, chronic alcohol consumption — which I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this guy was involved in — is said to weaken bones and teeth.

The other question is how two friends can move on from these kinds of awkward biting ordeals. Will they continue to be buddies and laugh about this when all the wounds have healed? Or is this one of those cases where leaving a town that will remember you as the crazy guy who bit off someone’s fingers is the only real option?

Source: TV Asahi News, Big Globe News, Hachima Kiko
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