From the archives III

From the archives III

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For the past couple of years, a good deal of my Japanese practice has consisted of reading those free newspapers that are published by the Japanese expat community in London, namely News Digest, the thrillingly titled Japan Update Weekly (formerly known as Bay Spo) and Weekly Journey.

Weekly Journey is my favourite of the three, and its most interesting feature is a page of bizarre stories  trawled from the week’s news, stories that usually involve bungled crimes or deviant behaviour of one kind or another.

Once Mrs M and I have moved to Japan, I’ll be rather disappointed not to be able to pick up Weekly Journey any more (sadly, the bizarro stories do not feature on its website), as reading a real-life Japanese newspaper is much more like hard work. So before that happens, may I be so bold as to present you with one or two gems found in translation, as it were:

‘Looking at them was exciting’ – 78 saddles are seized from a man suspected of theft, who has been re-arrested in Tochigi Prefecture.

37-year-old company employee Yuichi Fukuda was arrested on the 22nd and taken to Sakura Police Station in Takanezawa Town, Tochigi Prefecture, on suspicion of stealing a young girl’s bicycle saddle. He is already being prosecuted for a previous offence of damage to property.

‘Looking at the saddle made me excited,’ the suspect confirmed. A large number of saddles and student’s bicycle helmets were found at Mr Fukuda’s residence, and Sakura Police are investigating further offences.

According to Sakura Police, between the afternoon of the 6th March and the morning of the 7th March, Mr Fukuda is suspected of stealing a bicycle saddle (worth around 100 yen) from the residence in Takanezawa Town of a nine-year-old girl who is in the fourth grade of elementary school.

Mr Fukuda was previously arrested by Sakura Police on 29th May on suspicion of damage to property, when he was caught in the act of covering the bicycle helmet of a junior high school girl with a urine-like liquid. When officers searched Mr Fukuda’s home, they discovered 78 bicycle saddles, 10 bicycle helmets and various items of PE kit.

According to investigations, Mr Fukuda has been targeting bicycles with junior high school markings, and has testified to stealing saddles and helmets. ‘Women of my own age don’t take any notice of me,’ he is quoted as saying.

And in case you fancy reading the Japanese instead:

「見て楽しんだ」サドル78個押収 窃盗容疑で男を再逮捕 栃木
栃木県警さくら署は22日、女子児童の自転車のサドルを盗んだとして、窃盗の疑いで、同県高根沢町平田、会社員、福田裕一被告(37)=器物破損罪で起訴=を再逮捕した。
「サドルを見て楽しんでいた」と容疑を認めている。福田容疑者の自宅からは大量のサドルや通学用ヘルメットが見つかっており、同署で余罪を調べている。
同署の調べによると、福田容疑者は3月6日午後から7日午前にかけて、高根沢町内の小学4年の女子児童(9)の自宅から、自転車のサドル(1000円相当)を盗んだ疑いが持たれている。
福田容疑者は、同県さくら市内で、女子中学生のヘルメットに尿のような液体をかけたとして、5月29日に器物破損の現行犯で同署に逮捕された。同署が福田容疑者の自宅を捜索した際、自転車のサドル78個やヘルメット10個、体操着などを発見した。
同署の調べに、福田容疑者は平成18年ごろから、中学校のステッカーが張られた自転車を狙い、サドルやヘルメットを盗んでいたと供述しており、「同世代の女性に相手にされない」などと話しているという。

A picture of Mr Fukuda’s horde of stolen goods can be seen here.


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