Routine Traffic Stop

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Went for a drive today and got to chat with a cop. Most foreigners find this to be a very frightening experience, but it really wasn’t a big deal.

I always love an adventure, and I have found that there are back roads or sometimes rice farming roads, that run through secret valleys between hillsides. Today I had a little spare time and decided to look for a shortcut to work. I dropped onto a winding road about 1.5 meters wide and wound south through the closest hidden valley. I encountered one biker and one farmer along the way.

Much to my surprise, when I got to the end of the road, there was  a cop car sitting there – just sitting there – not doing anything noticable. He was blocking the place that looked like my path out the south side, but it looked like a turf road with encroaching branches. Not exactly the ideal commuter route, I squeezed by the cop, performed a three point turn, and aimed for the road I came in by. Unfortunately, the policeman moved to block both ways out and got out of his car.

Popular wisdom of foreigners is to speak only English to policemen. The idea is that they can’t speak English and don’t want to do extra paperwork. However, every story I have hear about foreigners pulling this stunt has ended with citations.

As he approached my vehicle I rolled down the passenger side window and greeted him (in my most disarming voice). “What are you doing here?”, came the reply. “Um, I think I kind of lost my way.” I retorted.

“Lost your way…” came the challenging and curious comment. “Where are you going?”

“Well, I started at the Sports Center and hoped this road would be a short way to my work in Ichishi; however, as I traveled down this road it got narrower and narrower…”

“You can’t go through here.”

“I can’t go through here.”

“You can’t go through here.”

The officer used our local dialect for his negative verb conjugations, and I responded directly in dialect. I felt like our interaction was challenging, but non-threating. My view is that learning the language and using it when interacting with police won’t result in negative interaction.

Police often drive around with their flashers going. As I was following the cop out of the valley, he was running his bubblegum machine. Once I separated from him, the lights went off. That was a little annoying.

Later I found the other end of the road near a church/cult of some kind. At the exit it looks like a foot path, with no paving or gravel. Clearly not the shorcut I was hoping for.

I want to write about another secret valley, but I need to snap photo first.

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One Response to “Routine Traffic Stop”

  1. Gangplank Threat « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] I don’t have many qualms about dealing with police officers. After all, they’re just people. So, I ignored that part of the discussion altogether; but, I […]

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