A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

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Did you know that there has been a series of crimes in Tsukuba that made national headlines lately? A 32-year-old man was arrested last week for aggravated assault. This man went to a 20-year-old Tsukuba woman’s residence at night, and begged her to make him her slave. He then tried to grab her through a gap in the chained door when she refused. This man said that he had fallen in love with a 20-year-old woman at first sight about a month prior to this bizarre case.

…OK, guys. Hang in there. Japan’s infamous muggy weather is too much to handle, even for a Japanese guy obviously, but it’s going to get worse. If you are new to Ibaraki or Japan, you might want to note that the season after the rainy season is actually the 暴走族 (bou sou zoku) or motorcycle gang season. Several days ago, some people, possibly high school kids were setting off bottle rockets… at two in the morning! These kinds of troublemakers come out when the weather gets nicer, and they’ve definitely become the unwelcome seasonal tradition of Japan.

On a more serious note, there was also a murder in Tsukuba last week. The owner of a pachinko parlor in Takamihara, which is the area adjacent to Ushiku City, was murdered last Tuesday night. The killer is still on the loose.

What may affect many of TsukuBlog readers is a series of motorcycle thefts in the area. As Shaney wrote in her post “Increase in Bike and Motorcycle Theft in Tsukuba,” bike and motorcycle thefts are on the rise at an alarming rate. Three Namiki residents found their beloved motorcycles stolen last Tuesday morning. Four other motorcycles were stolen in Tsukuba between June 15 and 16. All were large-size motorcycles such as Harley-Davidsons (very popular targets!), and all were safeguarded against theft. The police suspect that a professional motorcycle theft ring(s) is behind these cases. This website, “バイク盗難 情報局 (motorcycle theft information),” is also cautioning all motorcycle owners in Japan about the recent motorcycle theft cases. The website is specifically warning those motorcycle owners who live along/near the following Routes: Route 17, Route 16, Route 14, Route 246, Route 408, Route 125, Route 4, and Route 354. As you know, Routes 408, 125 and 354 go through Tsukuba.

Some of you may already have signed up for this, but the Ibaraki Prefectural Police launched a service last month that informs Ibaraki residents of crimes and crime prevention information by e-mail. The service is called ひばりくん防犯メール(Hibari-kun bouhan mail), or Skylark Crime Prevention Mail. Skylark is the prefectural bird of Ibaraki, by the way. My son’s school handed out letters about this new service a couple of weeks ago, but I was too lazy to sign up. However, the recent motorcycle thefts in Tsukuba got me to sign up for this service because just the thought of a professional theft ring roaming around in my neighborhood made me sick and made me very worried about neighborhood safety.

The registration process is VERY simple. Just send a blank e-mail to add[AT]mail1.police.pref.ibaraki.jp and click on the URL in the message sent back to you. It won’t ask you to enter your residential address. All you need to do is to click and choose the city, then choose which information you’d like to receive. I picked Tsukuba, and selected both “crime prevention information” and “traffic accident information” to be sent to my e-mail account. The only message I’ve received so far since I signed up for this service last week was about a suspicious man in his 50s in Mito who’s been approaching kids. Subscribers will receive traffic accident information, break-in/purse snatcher/bicycle theft reports and announcements from the Ibaraki Prefectural Police. Watch your bikes and motorcycles… and kids!