Last night/this morning, I witnessed one of the coolest, funniest events I have seen since coming to Japan. There is so much to tell so this post is going to run long. I am going to try to keep it short because I am typing this at 5:30am and have not been to sleep yet.
It all started with a really spiffy jog that I embarked upon around 10:30pm last night. I went on a path that ran along the river and was quite pleased with my self that I went from the start of the path to a big suspension bridge about a mile or so away with out stopping and making good time. I then decided to turn the jog into a decent walk that spanned the outer circumference of the entire town, about six miles in all. I was going to post about this jog to begin with because I jogged to the top of the castle that overlooks the town and went around the courtyard of it around 11:30pm and got a really good view. That and I was hit with the fact that here I am, jogging at almost midnight in the middle of summer with great weather, listening to Marilyn Manson on the iPod, and exploring a castle that was built 500 years ago. It was kind of one of those reminders that life can be whimsical and good. There was a light emanating from the top chamber of the castle and it felt as if a long dead shogun had come back to life and was watching me from above. I felt very in tune with history at that moment.
Anywho, with that as the high point of my jog, I was very satisfied of how the night turned out and was completing the jog/walk by going down the main street of the new part of Fukuchiyama. This is where the night got really interesting.
As I jogged down the street, I noticed a cop car on the side of the road in front of the main book/video/game/arcade/store in town. I didn't think much of it because cops do exist in my town and I do see them on occasion. Then I heard a sound. It was that distinct whine that a really nice crotch rocket makes when its doing about 90mph in the wrong lane of the main street in a town with two cops chasing after it. It was obvious there was no way the cops were going to catch that bike and I kept walking, thinking that was pretty cool and I had never seen a police chase while in Japan. Then it got better.
After the crotch rocket came an entire bike gang. There were six or seven bikes in all ranging from the variety built for speed to the visually tricked out bikes. One bike had a huge scoop that was the shape of a crescent moon that swooped over the passenger riding on the back and it was blue with a white racing stripe in the middle. There was another Kawasaki or Yamaha that looked like it had at one time been part of a presidential motorcade with a little Japanese flag waving on the front wheel well. The thing that got me was the fact that instead of just driving down the road, these bikes started doing circles in the middle of the intersection. They were messing up traffic and endangering people and they didn't seem to care. At one point, all of the bikes were revving their engines to a beat while the passengers in the back of the bikes were doing liquid dancing with their arms to the beat of the engines. It was pretty friggin' cool. But it didn't end there.
About this time, I decide that I really need to run back to my place and get my camera and come back on my bike. I have never seen anarchy on this scale and the cops totally helpless to stop it. I left about fifteen people gazing from the curb at the spectacle and sprinted as fast as I could back to my apartment about a mile away. I got to my apartment, grabbed a tea, my wallet, camera, and bike keys and dashed off once again.
As I headed back toward that side of town, all of the bike gang passed me with cops in tow. I figured I would still head to my original destination because they would be able to loop back if they stayed on the road they were on. And they did. Only this time, it was to an audience of 150-200 twenty-somethings hanging out on the curb calling all of their friends and taking pictures. More cops had also shown up by this time but that didn't matter. The crowd that was forming at what was quickly become the social event of the year was also a tad devious and conniving. At one point, when a cop took off after a biker, several kids jumped in front of the cop's path causing him to hit his brakes hard and swerve. They were trying to giving the biker time to escape. Many of the onlookers also must have thought a small riot was going to erupt because many of them were carrying kendo swords, pipes, and other materials that would make a good bitch stick. One kid also brought a Fisher-Price bow and arrow, the kind that shoot the arrows with a suction cup on the end, that made me laugh. He said he had archery practice to do, more laughing followed. It was later that he also told me he was a sex machine. After I told him that I too was a fellow sex machine he brought a girl over and told me that she indeed, was a sex machine as well. Talk of masturbation also ensued, at which point the girl smacked the guy and walked off, the night kept getting better.
By this point, the bike gang was gone but everyone was still hanging out. There were Mitsubishi Lancer Evos, Subaru WRX STIs, tricked out classic cars, and Honda S2000s with mods driving around at this point. The whole block was quickly turning into the set of Fast and Furious and I was in the middle of it. Someone even brought some fireworks to light off while waiting for the bikers to return. At least I think it was a firework, then again, it may have been a very spark-filled cigarette. Who knows? The entire time, the cops are on the other side of the street video taping the spectacle and calling their friends. It was 12:30am.
Around this time, one bike returned to the arena and began to show off. The guys on the bike even posed for me at one point but I did not get my camera up in time and missed them. I thought that was a nice gesture though coming from two guys that were breaking about every traffic law on record while trying to give me a good picture. Gotta love the hospitable and gracious Japanese.
All this time, the two guys on the bike continue to elude the cops and swerve all over creation. At one point, the cops tried to reach out and pull them off the bike but this attempt failed. Earlier in the evening, the bikers were actually speeding toward cops that were on foot and making them jump out of the way. That action alone could have gotten them shot in the States. The entire time this went on, I kept asking myself why were they not setting up roadblocks, stop strips, or anything? I never got an answer to that question. These bikers terrorized these cops for almost three hours and as far as I know, they never caught any of them. Oh yeah, one upside to being in a Japanese bike gang. Most Japanese people look alike with the exception of their faces. Therefore, if you take the plates off your ride and wear face masks, odds are your not getting caught. Best description of a bike rider last night, a Japanese guy with black hair, medium build, and had a white mask on. The only person that eliminates from the police lineup is me.
Toward the end of the night, more police showed up, totaling three paddy wagons, five cruisers, and two undercover cop cars. This was probably all of the Fukuchiyama police force, minus scooters. Yes, cops ride scooters here. Around 1:15am, one of the paddy wagons pulled up to the group of people I was standing by and the cops got out and started talking to them in not happy voices. It was then that I decided to head home and avoid any unhappy voices directed at me. Once in the cop and biker free safety of my apartment, I could still here the occasional bike revving up. I do not think it really stopped until around 3:30am.
During my stint in the audience, I took a bit of video on my camera that was pretty funny. If I can find a way to get it on here, I will post it for ya. I guess what I learned from tonight is that the police in my area are totally unprepared for minor anarchic situations. During the entire event, all they did was take pictures and video. They followed the bikers too but I think that was more to look busy than to make a difference; it wasn't like the bikers were going to pull over anytime soon and let their butts get dragged into jail.
All I know is if that happened in Idaho, there would have been cops trying to ram the bikes and setting out stop strips on the street. Knowing Boise, they probably also would have opened fire on the gang, especially when the bikers were gunning it toward them. I think maybe the plan was to disperse the crowd and without an audience to play to, the bikers would go away. Maybe this worked, maybe not, but I do not like talking to Japanese cops if I can help it, so I left.
I am going to go to bed now. Its 6am and I need sleep. That was just one of the funniest things I have seen since coming here and I wanted to share while it was all fresh in my mind. Good morning to you all and good night to me!