Akasaka Adventures, Vol. 4

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After I passed out at my company physical (I suffer from serious low blood pressure problems when needles go into my arms), I went out to find nutrition (patty melt and milk tea) at the local Anna Miller’s. Oddly, this American style diner is the frequent meeting place for some yakuza or yakuza types (Akasaka is Sumiyoshi territory), and as I went in, there was a black stretch limo parked out front and a white Toyota with two sunglassed black suiters standing guard. Usual story. My guess is they go for the obscenely top-heavy waitress outfits and stay for the overpriced cafeteria pie. The two bosses left at the same time towards the end of my meal, although I did not see them go out — I just noticed the cars drift away.

When I left, however, a large-sized silver Rolls Royce (or perhaps, a Bentley) pulled around where the white car had been. Two drivers jumped out, pulled an umbrella out of the trunk (which was also filled with what looked like bags of DVDs and manga-sized books graced with a male celebrity’s face), and then ran to the back door. While covering the space outside of the door with the umbrella, the driver frantically explained positions to someone on his mobile phone: “We’re on the left directly after the intersection.”

The passenger finally got out, protected from the rain by the umbrella provided, which he took in his own hands. He was about 5’5″ or so, frail, 30—35 in a rather respectable tailored suit. Nothing too “organized” if you know what I mean (I mean organized crime). He walked to the other side of the car in a young, sheepish way, looked around, but appeared perfectly comfortable with the idea of holding his own umbrella.

Then suddenly, a black luxury BMW sedan pulls up and stops basically in the middle of the road. The driver gets out, and opens the back door. The car is covered in all sorts of odd antennas. The small suited man gets in, the driver closes the door, and the car speeds off.

I stop pretending like I am waiting for someone outside and stumble back to work before realizing my loss of consciousness sucked the life out of me.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
December 13, 2006

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

15 Responses

  1. alin Says:

    //bags of DVDs and manga-sized books //

    they’re the new Nirvana bootlegs and they contain undisputable evidence that the yakuza poisoned Kurt with quicksilver during his last japan tour when these recordings were made. the fact that the yakuza had the studios, which were monopolized by a rivaling gang, booked only between 10 and 12 pm is the reason for the early start of the gigs which so pissed Kurt off.

  2. check Says:

    It was all just a dream?

    (Yet I wish it was real.)

  3. porandojin Says:

    la vida loca

  4. marxy Says:

    I was groggy, but no, this really happened.

  5. fleep... Says:

    I quite believe it after being in Akasaka for 5 years and visiting the same Manna Niller’s restaurant. If you there late at night, you can have a very entertaining evening and watch all the mysterious black cars and tinted windows come and go to the soba restaurant just behind Manna Niller’s and other private washoku restaurants in that alley.

  6. Yatenkaiouh Says:

    Perhaps this question is a bit callow, but don’t you ever get a bit nervous with all of the yakuza you seem to run in to?

  7. marxy Says:

    “If you there late at night, you can have a very entertaining evening and watch all the mysterious black cars and tinted windows come and go to the soba restaurant just behind Manna Niller’s and other private washoku restaurants in that alley.”

    YES!

    That’s the other thing that is the extra-spice on the story: there is a $150 a person soba restaurant behind the Manna Niller’s which is always visited by cabinet members. (They have a special “cabinet member” sticker in their black sedans.)

    So on this corner, you frequently have local mobsters, Korean mobsters (there is a special Korean-only credit union nearby), and high-ranking politicians.

    “don’t you ever get a bit nervous with all of the yakuza you seem to run in to?”

    This is a very public street. I don’t think they know I know who they are, as well.

  8. dzima Says:

    How about this secretive restaurant on the third or fourth floor of a business building on Roppongi-dori which on its front door advertised itself as a Mexican-Caribbean-South American food joint. I didn’t want to go there but I was dragged inside by my gullible friends.

    Once we were there I asked the waiter if they really sold all the food they advertised and he replied saying that the restaurant actually specialised in Colombian food. Alarm bells rang for me but it was too late since my friends were already sitting and ordering food. As we ate, I observed a large flux of people coming in and out of the restaurant, none of them customers or workers. Meanwhile, the waiters were staring at us all the time. One of them ran to the 7-11 to buy bread for us because they had run out of it, a weird thing to happen. I was telling my mates to hurry up with their meals, which they did, and get going because I had feeling that that restaurant was going to turn into something akin of a Tokyo version of the movie From Dusk Till Dawn.

    Marxy-sensei, has the yakuza got any international connections with foreign organised crime groups, say from Italy or Colombia or America?

  9. marxy Says:

    There may be links – at least trade with other Asian gangs – but I don’t know much about it.

  10. lacadutadegiganti Says:

    Like so many of marxy’s great posts, this one helps clarify the kind of experience I still keep having in Japan, even after all these years, where it seems profoundly enigmantic to me, naive soul that I am. My wife and I stayed at the old Akasaka Prince Hotel a couple of months ago, and we were wandering the adjoining neighborhood looking for a place to eat. This was my first visit to Akasaka, by the way (incroyable, no?). The shopping streets had a bland, anywhere-machi quality, with family restaurants, combinis, pachinko parlors, ice cream shops. It seemed odd that a neighborhood I’d always heard was quite tony would have so many declasse businesses. This couldn’t possibly be the highest and best use of such prime real estate! But there was something Potemkin-like behind the suburban facade: lots of extraordinarily expensive cars, a high proportion of large, uber-predatory looking bars, with bouncers actually wearing suits a cut above the usual Aoki crap, and restaurants that seemed indefinably “off.” Now I think I have a better idea of what’s up witht the place.

  11. alin Says:

    //- but I don’t know much about it.

    There’s a bit of irony here wouldn’t you say (marxy sensei, (sorry)). like ,, you seem to be such a vehement fighter against the yakuza yet seem to , beyond the fact that they’re bad and they run things from behind, show little more insight into their milieu and modus operandi then the guy who landed in tokyo after watching the godfather.

    i can’t help wondering why your office is in asakusa of all places.

  12. marxy Says:

    What I like about Akasaka is the gridded-streets, the secret private passageways between the main roads, the vast variety of ethnic cuisines, the mix of politicians, mob members, cops, low level-salarymen, Chinese, Koreans, and hostesses. The escalators on a Friday night smell sweet from all the young women coming out of the subway and going to work.

  13. Johan Says:

    Y’know, I feel like such a total naive fool when saying this, but I worked in Akasaka for over half a year and didn’t notice anything at all…

  14. alin Says:

    that must be the sakamoto/watanabe akasaka moon factor.

  15. dude Says:

    for some odd reason I read the post title as “Alaska Adventure.” doh.

    I have spent a good amount of time at that Anna MIller’s though. It was the late night study hangout for Sophia dormies circa 1998-1999. 24 hours *and* unlimited refills on coffee! The dorm is long gone, but I am glad to hear the おpies and the yaks are also still there. It can be a (even more) fun place around 2-3am.