I just walked down to the convenience store by the nearby train station to pick up a beer to help me get to sleep gently. Walking past the bus stop connected to the station's parking area I ran into three Japanese gentlemen who were rather intoxicated. They said hi and introduced themselves in rudimentary English and I we had a short introduction in broken English on their part and broken Japanese on mine. They were three guys, a bigger one in a T shirt and nice trousers, a smaller one in similar clothing, and a third one with Japanese pop-star hair and a suit jacket over a T shirt. They seemed cheery and friendly enough that I was willing to have that conversation. The bigger guy took the opportunity to pull up the back of his T shirt to show me his tattoo. I don't know what it exactly was of, snakes on a tree and patterns I think. He showed me about a foot of his back and the tat stretched above and below the revealed area. I know enough about the Japanese mob to be scared at this point so I disengaged and went to the convenience store.
Coming back with the beer in the front pocket of my hoodie, the gents were still there. They said hi when I walked up and the big dude got in my way. This was mildly imposing, but I knew far better than to show fear in any way. They chatted with me in the barely intelligible mix of languages for a moment, and then the bigger dude started shaking me down for money. The guy with the jacket kept saying 'Japanese joke, Japanese joke' but I was pretty unable to get away. If I wanted to get out of there I would have had to run and I wanted to keep up a confident facade. I kept saying 'no money, no money' and I kept hearing 'money, money' and 'Japanese joke, Japanese joke'.
Whenever anyone passed coming from the station the conversation, such as it was, turned off, but I didn't want to just book it. There was a point where the tough threatened to smash me with a bike parked right behind the bus stop, lifting it up like a feather and swinging it gently back and forth towards me. I kept confident and kept laughing and talking until finally the tough guy was swept aside by the guy in the jacket. He asked if I wanted to go drink my beer at his place. I said I just wanted to drink it and go to bed. I'm not an idiot.
He broke me away from the trio, finally getting me away from the big dude who was stifling my progress, and walked me down the block telling me to go home. I told him I'd go home and we separated. As soon as I was out of sight of them, about a hundred meters away, I ran like crazy. The path to my apartment is a bit twisty so I looked back at every corner and made sure to evade any dudes chasing me, which they weren't as far as I can tell.
I'm now home safe. This was a pretty crazy ordeal. I've got some luck, eh? Hope you all have enjoyed the latest installment of my exceedingly eventful blog about Japan.
(If you know me personally, don't tell anyone I know about this unless you contact me. I don't want to scare folks close to me, especially after the hit by a car incident.)