Teiichi Hazu, a fiend and business associate, invited me for dinner; but this would be different. Instead of going to a restaurant, it would be at his home. I was deeply honored, for it is a rare compliment for a foreigner to be invited to dine where a Japanese lives.
I knew his address, but herein lies a
I found a koban -- a neighborhood police post -- and asked directions. One of the policemen on duty explained Hazu's house might be difficult for me to find, so he graciously escorted me there.
With my shoes replaced by comfortable slippers and formal
greetings by his family completed, we settled down with a refreshing drink of
Scotch whisky produced in
"Hazu-san," I said, "that was certainly an accommodating policeman who led me to your door."
He smiled in agreement. "With a few exceptions, the whole staff of the koban is made up of nice fellows. We know them all quite well. They visit us twice a year."
"That's interesting," I said. "I don't know any policemen. Come to think of it, I rarely see one where I live."
Hazu replied, "That's because your police system is
different than ours. We have close-by protection twenty-four hours a day. Not
just here where I live, but all over
"This must be terribly costly. Can you imagine what the
police payroll would be in the
Hazu thought for a moment. "I guess that's true, but there are so many considerations like reduced crime, fewer jails, higher property values and improved self-esteem in your inner cities. These are just a few offsets to higher police payroll. I think, when you got all through, it might even be an economy to use our system."
I asked, "Don't the people resent such close police presence?"
I guess some do, but most don't. My son appreciates it. Sometimes, they let him practice on their computer. My wife and daughter can't imagine how it would be to be afraid to walk alone at night."
"I guess those old fellows I saw at the koban just a while ago enjoy it. They were playing go at a table outside of the entrance, and a little girl came in all by herself asking for candy. It was a pleasant scene."
Hazu said, "This is enough of police talk. Your glass is empty. Time for another Scotch."