Mind occupation followup

A while ago I wrote about discrimination against foreigners in Japan. I've got two interesting followups on this. The first is an article in the German newspaper Spiegel, about the fingerprinting only for foreigners that will be introduced at the end of the year, and the flat-out rejection of foreigners at some establishments around Japan. The article is in German, but I'm sure Google translate can make something out of it if you can't understand. I normally don't go about reading German newspapers, but the author of this article happens to be sitting a couple of desks next to me at work, so it piqued my interest.

Last time, I reported that I was always treated quite nicely by the police whenever they stopped me while I was cycling. Well, today was finally the day that they checked me out o_0. I was cycling to the supermarket in the dark without a front light, and I forgot to turn on my rear light, and I happened to have the bad luck to ran into a policeman on the way. He stopped me and asked me about my light. Then he asked me about the registration information of my bicycle (the bike has an ID number which is linked to your personal data), and only after that did he check my 'alien registration card', which all foreigners in Japan possess. Seems like normal procedure to me, and I really did not feel that I was treated unfairly compared to Japanese people, although I have to say that I did make a show out of it to explicitly show my Asahi Kasei Security Card while looking for my bicycle registration papers in my wallet :D.

Everything seemed to check out, but when the policeman was just about to let me go on my way (without a fine for driving without light!) he checked the registration number one more time, and he found that the number was off by one! Mine ended with 10, and the registration was for a number that ended with 09. It took a couple of seconds for me to realize what this meant until I figured out why the numbers didn't match. When I bought the bicycle I bought it at the same time as Kamil, who bought exactly the same bicycle as me. I'm pretty sure now that the seller messed up the registration details and mixed up the registration numbers and forms for our bicycles >_<

At the time this happened it was 5PM and just getting dark. I just woke up actually, and I wasn't really in the 'Japanese mindset' yet, but I managed to explain all this to the policeman, who called the main police office to confirm it, and my story checked out, fortunately. Kamil, if you're reading this, I need your bicycle registration stuff next time I see you!

Posted in Uncategorized