“Tokyo Vice”! A Gritty “Weekly Wednesday Bookmobile” Trip To Japan’s Underworld! My Tokyo Police Encounter!

Welcome To Tokyo’s Underworld Thanks To The “Weekly Wednesday Bookmobile”!

As you know, I love Tokyo – so a penetrating book about Japan’s underworld was a must read for me – and this week’s “Weekly Wednesday Bookmobile” has just the book for you! I have had the opportunity to travel to this unique and fascinating city five separate times, and each time another part of the city unfolds:

The city’s entertainment districts are full of bright lights and unique images, but if you want to more about what goes on BEHIND THE LIGHTS, you should read this book NOW!


Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan – by Jake Adelstein

What a great book! American reporter Jake Adelstein wrote this candid look at his time working at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper in Tokyo. He covered the crime beat and locked horns with yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto, called the “John Gotti of Japan”.

From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: this is a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up, by a Reporter who experienced it all.

At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime . . . crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake.


Life And Death Reporting!

This book is a fascinating inside look at life in Tokyo – including an amazingly dangerous encounter, when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss — and the threat of death for him and his family!

Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.

This is a great look at the real world behind the lights…for example, this is an adults only store in Tokyo’s Kabuki-Cho district…I took this picture while filming there…

In “Tokyo Vice”, Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter—who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor—to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head.

The book offers a vivid, visceral description of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day Yakuza – and it is a insider’s view that even few Japanese ever see.

“Tokyo Vice” is a fascinating book, so check it out!

I have been to Tokyo five times, and had an interesting encounter there myself:

The nightlife districts are vibrant and full of color, but one day I wandered just north of here into a regular neighborhood, and a police car pulled up beside me and stopped me…



MY TOKYO POLICE ENCOUNTER!

So here is how my Tokyo police encounter began. I went for a walk, beginning about 10a…I usually will walk for several hours. After wandering through a Tokyo neighborhood like this, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a police car following me…moments later it pulls alongside and both Officers get out. They speak NO English. They motion for my ID, which I give them: I always carry my passport with me, whcih they motioned for me to put in the Officer’s HAT. Then they have me empty my pockets, which I did, putting it all into the hat. They patiently go through my wallet with close scrutiny of EVERYTHING – my credit cards, business card, insurance card, fascinated by all of it. They speak to me in Japanese, and even thought I try to understand what they want, it is mostly shrugging and pointing.

I look at them and shrug when they talk to me, they keep looking at my stuff for about five more minutes, and then they hold the hat out for me to take all of my stuff back…then they motion I can go…

So why did they stop me? I’ll never know…It was 1p in the afternoon, it was just a normal neighborhood I thought, and there was nothing about the neighborhood that seemed out of the ordinary – maybe because I was the ONLY foreigner in this area?

The most embarrassing part would have been if I was detained for WALKING – so there you have it, my Tokyo Police experience…if anyone with Tokyo experience has a theory about why they wanted to see my ID, let me know. I have filmed four separate times in Tokyo and have never had an encounter with the Police…

That said, I still love the place, the people and the lights! In fact, I shot many stories in Tokyo’s lively nightlife districts with my G4 Host Alex Sim-Wise:

You can read all about these wild Tokyo districts by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/10/16/alex-sim-wise-explores-tokyos-smallest-bars-golden-gai-mini-bars-i-love-japan/

Thanks Tokyo for giving us so much to talk about!



Categories: Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Japan, Memoirs, Politics, Pop Culture, Tokyo!, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

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7 replies

  1. Oh dear, thankfully we didn’t have a police encounter in Tokyo or anywhere in Japan. Had a similar situation once in South Africa 🙈

  2. I have to say that the ‘red light’ district looks enticing, John. The lights are like a magnet! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. There are so many lights and buildings. It is different from either London or anywhere I have been in South Africa or Europe. Maybe it is more like New York.

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