died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Monday, December 27, 2004

my neighborly mafia or tonari no yakuza

So my neighbors are in yakuza. They are like one of those things I always here about (molesters on the train, all the bizarre cultural stuff that comes out of Japan that I just never see). I've had quite a few run ins with them (all without conflict). My first rememberence of the Mafia next door is them talking on the balcony, badgering a pachinko parlor owner for money over the phone. Now, why he would be on the balcony lecturing some guy about how he had better come up with the money or something might happen to the wife of the guy on the other end, to share with the whole apartment complex, is beyond me. Interesting to me, they have to be nice to me. I already feel a bit of immunity from them because I'm a foreigner, so I am not the target of most of their schemeing. But no, the reason they have to be nice to me, is because the whole apartment KNOWS that they are Yakuza, and if there is any disturbances at all, we will boot them out in a Tokyo minute. One of the lackeys seems to have taken to being nice to me. He dresses straight from the countryside (less overalls, more gaudy quasi brand name track suits), and he always comments on my piano playing. How sweet. One of the other lackeys, whose short sleeve shirts expose the body tatoo typical of yakuza, is less cordial and more business-like with me, but more out of fear it seems than anything. When one of his 'customers' came to my door complaining that my neighbors owed them money, I told them I wanted nothing to do with it and to keep me out of it. Hasn't come back again, and neighborhood has been quiet. Even their boss is friendly. While I was sitting out on my balcony, I saw them hanging some laundry on their's. When he asked if I was American, I asked him if he'd been, and in a hilarious mixture of using the English words 'mafia' and 'immigration' he told me that they won't let him leave. Now if they would stop double parking in the garage downstaris they might just be the perfect neighbor.


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