- Get publically berated by a megaphone wielding uyoku member from the top of his black sound truck.
[Now updated with photos and explanation.]
Having misplaced the mini-SD reader and lacking a data cable for my phone, I had to rely on email to move the photos a full 12 inches into my computer.
Joe (left) and I were joined by our buddy Nick Kapur (PhD student at Harvard currently abroad at Waseda) hanging out in the Ueno area the other night when we passed by an uyoku (right-wing) protest truck, upon which was bestrode an enthusiastic fellow angrily condemning everyone who is Asian yet not Japanese, particularly those who take it upon themselves to either come to Japan or be Chinese. You can’t quite see it all, but the banner on the right reads: “Recapture Takeshima.” The one on the left reads: “Let us halt the inflow of undesirable foreigners!!”
The foreground banner reads: “Let us punish tyrannical Communist China! Destroy the Chinese Communists-the enemy of Asia!”
The one in the back, on the truck itself, reads: Strongly opposed to the admission of 10 million immigrants from the seven countries.”
[Correction] The one in the back, on the truck itself, reads: “Ruined country. Strongly opposed to the admission of 10 million immigrants.”
Following the conclusion of the performance I walked over to the truck to try and talk to the guys, and when I tried to talk to the black leather-jacketed one standing on the curb next to the truck and he turned it back on me, I thought he was being deliberately rude so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. What I had not realized was that he was in fact turning to salute the flag as the Japanese national anthem played, and when turned around to tell me to fuck off. I took a few steps back and enjoyed the moment of silence.
They bowed at the conclusion of the anthem, and then the guy on top of the truck picked up his megaphone again and gave me a public earful of nationalist rhetoric for a few minutes.
To paraphrase: What the fuck are you doing? Didn’t you see we were saluting the flag and listening to the recitation of the national anthem? How would you like it if I bothered you while you were trying to salute YOUR flag? I don’t want to get in a fight with you or argue, but this is Japanese culture and you have to respect it if you’re in Japan. Excuse me, but if you do not want to follow Japanese traditions, then please go back to your home country. It went on a bit longer, but I think I have the ghist of it. Of course, of the several dozen onlookers who stopped in curiosity to watch the odd site of an ill-shaven and small man scream on top of a truck, only one or two actually joined in the flag salute, making his premise a bit shaky.