Ayase crime update: Possible foreigner robs sushi restaurant… across the street from my apartment

While making breakfast this morning, I noticed a couple of news trucks around the sushi restaurant across the street, which is the first thing I see when leaving my apartment in the morning. I figured that Gal Sone was probably eating a metric ton of kohada or something, but the truth was far darker. Kyodo reports:

Robbery at Choshimaru kaitenzushi: 720,000 yen seized

Around 6:30 AM on the 13th, a man entered from the back door of the Ayase Sushi Choshimaru kaitenzushi restaurant in Yanaka 1-chome, Adachi-ku, Tokyo, held a knife to the clerk (26) opening the restaurant, said “Give me your money,” seized 720,000 yen in sale receipts from the safe and fled. The clerk was unharmed.

The Metropolitan Police Ayase Station are searching for the man as a robbery suspect.

According to the Ayase Station, the man is around 30 and about 160-170 cm tall. He was wearing sunglasses, a black short-sleeved shirt and jeans. The clerk claims that “he threatened me in broken Japanese.” (Kyodo)

The Jiji report uses a fascinating phrase to describe the perp: “アジア系外国人風,” which means something like “looks Asian, seems foreign.” Fortunately, I only fit half of those criteria.

13 thoughts on “Ayase crime update: Possible foreigner robs sushi restaurant… across the street from my apartment”

  1. Wow you beat me… I was just about to write an almost identical post. Here’s the Google Street View image of the restaurant:


    It takes an enterprising criminal to attempt a robbery at 6:30 in the morning. That’s when I am reading the news before breakfast.

    Also, you would think they’d try and have some system in place to take the previous day’s sales off-site as soon as possible.

  2. Just as a general point of reference, according to MPD the Ayase station dealt with 2,482 non-violent thefts in 2008 (4th graph from the bottom).


    That’s about 7 per day.

    The number of non-violent invasion robberies in 2008 (218) accounted for 1.9% of the total for Tokyo (11,434).

    Since the Ayase police station covers a population of about 197,000, we can pretty simply compare the rough stats between here and a place like Washington, DC. There, the occurrence of “property crime” which is basically the same category as the non-violent robbery equals 4,913.9 per 100,000 people. In Ayase that number is 1,259.89, making Ayase about 4x safer than DC in terms of non-violent theft. It’s not possible to get a direct comparison, but you can kind of get a picture.


    Amazingly considering its reputation, the Ayase station area does not show up as red in the map of frequency of attacks, threats, and other violent non-robbery crimes.

    For some reason the MPD don’t seem to list violent robberies by exact location. However, for all of Tokyo they claim there were only 218 violent invasion robberies in 2008, of which just 8 targeted dining establishments (but that’s still more than the seven bank robberies).

    [ (2482/197000)*100000]

  3. Mostly unrelated and pointless, but one memory I have of my trip to Japan was watching a tv program about some chick eating an entire octopus in various dishes. I googled Gal Sone because of this post and now I know who the octopus girl is. So random….

  4. By the way, I thought I heard that there was an robbery over the weekend in Chiba as well. The clerks got tied up, held at knifepoint, etc.

    The biggest difference is probably the amount: The thieves made off with eight million yen, making 720,000 yen look like amateur hour…

  5. “Looks Asian seems foreign”.Not sure exactly what they mean,but next time I rob a sushi bar,I try to threat the clerk with broken Japanese.

  6. In the initial reports following the 2007 heist at Exelco Diamond in Ginza, the robbers were described as two foreigners, one white wearing a blue suit and one with a beard who looked South American. I wondered at the time what the witness might have meant by “looking South American” and dug out a surveillance picture of the guy:


    The actual URL is not always regarded as SFW so, if you want to click through, you’ll need to replace the “*” with “u”

    Did Marxy ever have a beard at that time?

  7. Wait, I don’t get the fascination of the phrase. Doesn’t アジア系 modify 外国人 which then gets 風 added to mean simply “Seeming (acting, etc.) like an Asian foreigner”? (That is, it’s one complex criterion rather than two thrown together in a jumble.)

  8. “That can’t be him—no eyepatch or hipster clothing.”

    Maybe that’s why the disguise is so effective.

  9. Matt,

    I don’t think the wording is the point. For a lot of crimes, the perp is described as speaking “detarame na” nihongo. That’s fine, because some Japanese can and do speak shoddy Japanese. However, some folks will extrapolate from that description that the perp must be non-Japanese. Ya know, because every Japanese that would pull a heist speaks like Takakura Ken or with the eloquence of John Malkovitch.

    That inference to me is quite clumsy, and often unreliable.

  10. So, in other words you think that Jiji is extrapolating it on their own initiative from the “katakoto” thing? I disagree — they have it in their paragraph about appearance which sounds distilled from witness reports:


    So really just “He seemed to be an Asian foreigner.” Of course, your point just gets reactivated again in re the question of how the witnesses arrived at that conclusion… but I think that anyone running a liquor shop would be worldly enough to tell ra-nuki or yoof dialects from an actual non-native-speaker accent.

    (Of course, they might not be worldly enough to tell the latter from a plausible facsimile employed by a regular old Japanese criminal to throw the fuzz off the scent. That would make a great twist for a detective story.)

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