From the archives III


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

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

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