In the present, your pointless day at work has concluded.
You are walking down the street toward Shimbashi Station when a propaganda-blaring loudspeaker van comes idling up behind you. Like all propaganda vans, it is loud and gleefully obnoxious; in contrast to its brethren, however, this one is narrated not by a man but by a strange semi-male, semi-female Dalek-like voice. Despite your fluency in Japanese, you have no idea what it’s saying.
“What the heck is it saying?” a Japanese person behind you asks his friend. “Beats me,” comes the reply. You feel a bit better knowing that even the locals have no idea what the thing is blathering on about.
And then, for some reason, you recall October 9, 2007.
On that day, the black loudspeaker vans belonging to the uyoku, Japan’s radical right-wingers, had been blaring non-stop since morning. You’d decided to walk outside your office and see what all the commotion was about… to find what appeared to be every single policeman and riot policeman in Tokyo barricading every single side street as far as the eye could see. Every uniformed one of them stood at attention, batons drawn and ready, should there be any trouble from the uyoku vans.
All two of them.
To your left, a trio of riot police watched while the vans cruised slowly — very slowly — past their vantage point. As the vans inched away, one of the riot police muttered, “Y’know, we could walk after them and follow ’em.” Shrugging, they deserted their post and begin walking after the departing vans.
You quickly fell in behind them.
Your little group bravely followed the menacing duo of vans, whose occupants alternately bitched about North Korea and taunted the cops with zingers like “Are you really friggin’ protecting the wealth and welfare of we Japanese?!” Tiptoeing, you were able to peer into the louder of the two vans; inside was the driver, a young-looking fellow shouting belligerently into a microphone, and a single passenger in the back seat with his face buried into a manga.
Several blocks and loudspeaker-delivered rantings later you arrived at Shimbashi Station, which had apparently been set as the meeting point for your vans to rendezvous with five or six others. As with the previous vans, these newcomers were stuffed to capacity with a full 1-2 uyoku members. Truly a force to be reckoned with.
Having merged, the two groups of vans began trundling their way toward an intersection bustling with cars and pedestrians. It was clear that if something wasn’t done, massive congestion — if not an outright collision — was imminent. Just then, one of the riot cops sprang into action. He leapt out into the street…
And began directing traffic.
Including the uyoku vans.
If you were smart, you would have been out robbing a bank. After all, practically every cop in Tokyo at the time was busy helping the mafia out with their little demonstration.
As opposed to doing any actual fucking police work.