Thursday, November 5, 2009
October 21/009 Being followed by Yakuza?
Flew to Japan October19/2009....arrived on the 20Th...slept for 11 hours (would be my last good night's sleep in Japan). On Oct 21st, headed to Katsuura by train.. Katsuura is 10 mins outside Taiji. Arrived there 4 hours later. Had no plan, just took comfort in Ric O'Barry's words to just "show up".
While outside the train station, trying to communicate with a cab driver on the price for going back and forth to Taiji, a young man walked up and asked if he could help translate.....in perfect English. Mentioning that I was planning to travel to Taiji off and on...he gave me a knowing nod as to say....you must be here because of the dolphins...however he seemed nice enough...and told me that there was a train and boat going in to Taiji daily, he was even nice enough to circle all the times from a booklet that the trains were leaving from Katsuura-Taiji. And then pointed out the direction of my hotel.
The hotel was only a short walk from the train station...and no one seemed to be around. Heard laughing coming from a room just up the stairs from the reception desk...so wandered up calling out..'hello"...then a man called out to me from a room..."Yes....come into my bed...come in".. ran back to the train station and grabbed the guy I had just been talking to and brought him back to the hotel with me for any other translations and to find out where the receptionist was.
He seemed amused with my story ...and the fact that i was frightened. While we both walked to the hotel i learned that he was from Taiji....so trying to sound casual, asked a couple questions on the "status" of the dolphin drives. He sounded a little guarded, but he followed it up with a vague response-"Ummm.. think they have ONLY killed about 50 Pilot Whales"....felt there was more to it....but did not want to push it as I could see that he looked uncomfortable and perhaps sensed some anger. And little did I know that those "trying to be discreet questions" of mine would soon be passed on....
As we walked up to the hotel we were met by a lady who peddled up on a bike...my new friend translated for me and I was able to check in on the OTHER side of the hotel from the "come into my room" guy. My friend waited for me to put my luggage in the room.....then he gave me a bicycle tour of Katsuura. We rode by a group of children as we chatted...and they were all waving and saying 'hello!"....rode by saying "hello!" back....and hear the children comment on something. Asked my friend what they had said...He gave a nervous laugh saying that they had said that "HE looked Japanese!!!"....it was funny, because HE IS Japanese...
That same evening went looking for a grocery store....walked out of the hotel and across the street saw a black car with tinted windows.
Came out of the grocery store....saw the car again....perhaps they were the police..?...had heard that foreigners in town are sometimes followed by the police and being a foreigner in town I stood out.
After coming out of the hot springs just as i was about to put on my shoes a man dressed in a black suit and white shirt came in....we immediately made eye contact...he then turned to the person who was working there and asked a question- seemed like he was asking a parking question. However, when i stepped out they pulled away. Wow, my trip was already getting Scary...they must be undercover police following me...good i thought, maybe that makes me safe from the fishermen!
Walked around looking for a restaurant...turned the corner and came face to face with the same guy from the Onsen and he was with another guy, both dressed alike in black suits, the other guy looked me in the eye like a laser beam....his gaze penetrated through me like i was prey!...jumped into a store and wandered until the men were gone - ran back to my hotel...Freaky Scary!