Getting Stopped by the Popo

If you’re a foreigner in Japan, at some point you’re probably going to have a run-in with the police.   This might be because they think you look suspicious (for justified reasons or not) and want to check your residence card, pulled you over because you violated a traffic law, or maybe you lost your wallet and need to file a lost report/are lost and need to ask directions at the nearest police box (kōban).

Having just gotten pulled over for a traffic offense, and considering the police climate Stateside, I thought I’d write a short bit on what to do if and when you encounter the police in Japan.

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On the Debate of Discrimination / Racism in Japan

Let me first get out of the way that I’m a Caucasian woman.  I don’t pretend to understand all of the complexities of race, racial identity,  discrimination, prejudice, or racism.  I also don’t overlook the fact that despite being female, I still have vast amount of privilege that a large number of people don’t and may not ever have.

That being said, no matter what race, ethnicity, or nationality you are this is an issue you might find yourself butting heads against in good ol’ Nippon, most recently in the form of the new ANA airline commercial that got taken off the air due to bad press.  The story itself has already been beaten to death (read here if interested), but I think the outrage and misunderstanding on Japan’s part touches on issues that any foreigner here might eventually find themselves faced with at some point.

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