This is the part 3 and the final installation of my eventful visit to the police station. You can read the proper posts on my site (somewhere).
Me: [proceeding to use my phone]
P1: Please do not turn on your phone.
Me: I don’t remember the time – if you want to know the exact time, I can tell you but only if I can look at the pictures and the timestamp on my phone.
P1: You cannot turn on your phone. Please leave it switched off.
Me: Fine – the time was evening. It was nearly sunset. We were on our way to eat at this Jamaican place but when we got there, it was closed so we decided to stop at any place that was opened.
P1: Did he drink while he was having dinner with you?
Me: No. We drank tea.
P1: Do you know how to drive a car?
P1: Do you have a valid drivers’ license?
Me: Seriously? I mean why would I have one? No.
P1: What happened after dinner?
Me: Nothing. He dropped me off and I got home. I continued setting up my washing machine and ended up soaked. I sent a message to him to say thank you – that was about an hour after I returned home I think. He sent a message back saying he drove into a lamppost but it wasn’t a serious thing. I wasn’t concerned at all because I didn’t know anything about Japanese laws and usually in Thailand or Burma, it’s a minor thing especially if there is no or very little damage- like making a hard turn instead of a drunken turn.
P1: Please let me re-read the report to you and see if you agree on it or not.
P1: [Proceeded to show me the gosh darn folder again] Is this the car registration plate and the car that you were in?
Me: I don’t know how to read hiragana so I don’t know if that is the number.
P1: You speak no Japanese?
Me: Not a single word.
P1: But you decided to come to Japan anyway.
Me: I got a good job offer so I came. Good jobs are difficult to come by. And I was heart-broken in Thailand and I just wanted to start fresh.
P2: [Editing the paper – printing it again]
So at this point the policeman re-read the report which to sum up very directly is that I am a helpless person who had just arrived in Japan and my colleague needed to help me so he rented a car and he drove me around to get some stuff.
Now comes the troublesome part.
P1: In Japan, this is a very serious crime. So we want you to remember this. If a person have been living in Japan for more than 6 months, they cannot drive with a license from another country. They need to have a Japanese license. If a passenger gets in the car with a person who has no valid drivers’ license, they are also committing the same crime as the driver.
Me: [At this point my legs were like jelly and I had an urge to throw up]
P1: Please remember this for the next time. We want you recite these rules and remember them and sign that you remember them before you leave the police station.
Me: Sure – I remember them. But what would you like me to sign?
P1: That you know the rules now and that next time, you get caught sitting next to a person without a drivers license in a car as the driver, then you will also be charged.
Me: I don’t think I want to sign that. I mean I know the rules now and I also don’t want to get into any car with any person anymore.
P1: You must sign.
Me: Why do I have to sign? I didn’t do anything wrong.
P1: You don’t sign, you can’t leave. We need your signature.
Me: I’ve already told you everything. I really don’t want to sign anything like that. I came to answer your questions.
P1: This is the procedure. You must sign and you can leave.
Me: Can I use my phone?
P1: No. Please sign.
Me: I really don’t know.
P1: Are you lying? Is there anything that is not true in this report?
Me: What – no! It’s all true but I’m not that helpless. I just don’t want to have a record in a police station. I never had that in any country I have lived before.
P1: We will wait for you to sign. Your colleague is waiting for you downstairs already.
Me: Which one?
Me: Guy or girl?
P1: It is a woman waiting for you downstairs.
Me: Fine, I’ll sign it but only because I need to go back and prepare to teach.
P1: Thank you.
Me: [signing the document very slowly]
P1: If you’re done, you may go.
[I got up and walked out the door but realised I forgot something and turned to go back into the interrogation room but went into the wrong room instead]
Me: Oops. Sorry.
P1: [came running out of his room and ushered me to the outside world]
When I got downstairs, my colleague was there and she asked me how it was and I said I needed to pee like I’m Sea Biscuit. A few weeks later, we found out he was fined for driving without a license but he wasn’t going to serve any time behind bars. A great big relief. So this concludes my adventure to the police station that no one asked for.