It’s the evening now and I was out looking for some clothes and anything else that could be useful before Alex gets here. I’ve had to wash 13680464_10210060896780410_7774516193337870025_omy clothes in the Hirogawa river lately, but I don’t like being outside too long. I managed a good haul at this slightly tired looking shop.

On the way back, I was driving over the bridge and saw some of my junior high school students fishing by the river. I parked the truck and went down to talk to them. When the noticed me approaching, they stopped what they were doing and formed a kind of semicircle. I didn’t notice at first, but they were all holding baseball bats. Some of them were stained red. I called out and asked them if they were alright. They looked at me stoney-eyed, but they didn’t look infected.

“Don’t worry, I’m not sick,” I called out trying to reassure them. As I got closer, they started to spread out and ended up surrounding me. They didn’t answer.

“Drop the crowbar” one of them shouted.

“I-I, I’m alright. I just wanted to talk. I haven’t seen anyone for a long time,” I stammered. I dropped the crowbar, and a lanky second grader darted forward and picked it up.

“What’s in the truck?” someone asked from behind me.

“Just some clothes and food,” I replied. Three of the kids ran over to where it sat parked on the bridge and began unloading things. The others watched me, holding their bats menacingly.

When the three returned to the circle,  the lanky one shouted “Go!” at me in English, and the kids behind me stepped to the side to let me pass.

“You can have all of that stuff, I just want to talk,” I blurted out in Japanese.

“No,” he said back, and began tapping his baseball bat against the side of his shoe. “Go!”

I backed away slowly through the gap in the circle, and then turned and trudged back to the car. From the looks on some of the children’s faces, they didn’t really want me to go. They looked frightened and I really wanted to comfort them or look after them in some way. As I went up to the stairs beneath the bridge, I faced them again and shouted, “Take care!” No one answered me though. They just watched me walk up the stairs.

When I got back to the truck, I found that they had taken my fishing rod, machete, a few water bottles and about ten bowls of instant ramen that I had been looking forward to. They left the clothes though, which I guess wouldn’t have fit them anyway.

Hirogawa wind farm

When I looked back, the kids had disappeared from the side of the river. I sighed and drove home in silence. I know they are only kids, but it we could have been so much more help to each other. This evening there has been almost no wind, which has meant the power has been off and on. That just added to my frustration. I can’t wait for Alex to get here…



8 thoughts on “ 17. Mugged by kids

  1. I’m almost speachless. This doesn’t seem like Japan, today or any day…and I, as an old Japanophile, one of the first I believe, do not recognize the scenes or the reactions. What is this crowbar that shows up so often? I am curious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent time living in a very rural town in Wakayama, and wanted to introduce a side of Japan that people don’t often see. It’s true that Hirogawa Cho doesn’t have a supermarket, and you have to go to Yuasa cho to get there. The one convenience store closes at about 9:00 or 10:00, so it’s quite different to the cities. I really like it there though. The crowbar? I find it in the 8th post and decide to pick it up in case.

      Thanks for reading! Very interested in any insights or thoughts you have. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, let me give one example that might come in handy for you. I lived on Sadogashima as a young housewife and I was in charge of tending to the dying matriarch was in and out of the ryojinhomu. I saw many different ba-chan then with all kinds of dementia. I could actually take their state and transpose it onto every Japanese young, old, male, female…anyone. Some ba-chans said nothing but their mounts were in a constant scream. Others picked away at their blankets as if the were after weeds in their gardens. A few were bent over in perfect right angles from working in the fields. Ritualistic processes would be repeated over and over. I would watch the Japanese elderly and unstable. They exhibit some of the “ura” which you need.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, that must’ve been quite an experience.. I can relate to parts of it (I used to work with people with intellectual disabilities) and it must have been really tough.. Thank you very much for the comment and sharing that. Is it okay for me to use some of what you wrote in an upcoming post?

        Liked by 1 person

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