Belated happy New Year. I am tardy to the party this year partly because I was apprehended by the police for breaking the law. Seriously. I confess to being a crook. A no good, ne'er do well hooligan and general scourge of society.
My crime, mind you, was not that serious. During a commute to the office last week, I was caught by an enthusiastic young policewoman for driving my scooter on the right side of a road’s center white line which separates opposing traffic lanes. For about 20 meters.
|Scene of the crime|
My punishment was a 6,000 yen fine -- 300 yen per meter – and I think one point subtracted from my license’s accumulated points.
Any loss of points means that I am condemned to sit through a two hour lecture on safe driving when I renew my license at the Driver’s License Center.I was tempted to beg for clemency due to the socially-acceptable canard that I was so busy and had to get the office, and the traffic jam was blocking the left side of the lane with only the 20 meters left to reach the scooter parking lot.
But I am an old gaijin now and know better. It is faster and easier to admit one's guilt than expend energy and brain cells arguing against the inevitable. Plus, I was guilty as charged. I took the Confucian cultivation of propriety route: admit guilt, show remorse, reflect on my misbehavior, show my deep shame, vow to improve—all done in about 30 seconds. This enabled me to process the paper faster, regain my freedom, and head on to the office.
Lesson learned? While not contributing to road safety at all, it is lawful and cheaper for me to get off my scooter and push it to the parking lot along the side of the road. Duh, winning!
This criminal masterpiece pales in comparison to another indictment and conviction in Hamada, Shimane prefecture, in 2009. This caper involved my arrest by a sharp young detective who tracked me down after a dogged pursuit of several meters. Upon being nabbed by the stalwart young crimefighter, I admitted to the heinous crime of not fully fastening my seatbelt while operating a vehicle in the parking lot of a mall. I endangered lives while puttering along in a line of cars at 5 km/h. I did the crime, so I paid the fine—the oh-so familiar sum of 6,000 yen.
One gets used to it.