69. Doisho

“Sure, no problem,” I tell the Customs agents and excuse myself to fetch the adaptor from my bedroom.

When I hand them the adaptor, I am told I must fill out a dōisho.

Dōisho?” Looking the word up in my electronic dictionary, I learn that a dōisho(同意書) is a letter of consent. 

Nakata draws up a sample dōishoand instructs me to copy it verbatim. 

As I am writing down the sentences, I hear the front door creak open. 

“If you don’t mind,” I say to the two agents, and rise to my feet. 

“Not at all,” Nakata replies.

Walking over to the entry, I find Azami standing at the door, dressed in a flowing purple summer dress and frozen like a doe in headlights. I could strangle the woman. 

Tell her not to call and what does she do? She rings me up every ten fucking minutes. Tell her to stay away from my place, so, naturally, she comes by.

“Ah, hello, long time no see,” I say cordially as I nudge her outside. “I’m afraid I have company at the moment.”

Closing the door behind me, I glare at my girlfriend. “Goddammit, Azami! When I tell you to do something, for fuck’s sake do it!”

“I’m s-s-sorry,” she says, taking a step away from me. True to the flower she is named after, she is as pretty as a thistle and just as prickly.

“Ah, Christ, I’m sorry, Azami. The one who should be apologizing is me.” I feel like a real arse. No, I aman arse. “Listen. Just make yourself scarce for the next thirty minutes or so, will ya? I’ll call you the moment I’m finished here and explain everything.”

Nodding, she does a sullen about-face and walks down the hallway towards the elevator.

What a jerk I am. Keep going Azamiand never come back.You deserve better than an arse like me.

“Thank you,” I say to the empty corridor, opening the door and stepping back into my apartment. “Please, do come again. Bye-bye now!”

Returning to the dining room table, I finish writing up the dōisho, affixing my official seal to the document where the Customs agent indicated.

“One other thing,” Nakata say. 

I almost groan. The Japanese have an annoying habit of going through an exhaustive list by saying “one more thing” before each item. I figure it will be more of the same here. To my surprise, however, there really is only one more thing: the password to my email.

Nakata shows me the piece of paper on which I wrote the password yesterday morning when my place was raided.

“We tried this, but it didn’t work.”

“Let me take a look at it,” I put on my best-puzzled face. “This is an underscore here, not a hyphen.”

“Yes,” says Windbreaker, “we tried it both ways.”

“Huh. It looks right to me,” I say, scratching my head. “But you know, I can’t remember the last time I actually typed the password. Oh, how silly of me. See this, what looks like a ‘b’ here? This is actually a ‘six’.”

“That’s a ‘six’?”

“Looks like a ‘four’,” Windbreaker laughs.

“No, that’s a ‘six’.” 

“Could you rewrite the password for us then,” Nakata asks.

When all the documents are signed and stamped, the two agents pack up and head for the door.

“Now, don’t forget about tomorrow,” Nakata reminds me, stepping into his sneakers and tapping the toes against the ground. “We need you there at nine o’clock sharp.”

“Nine o’clock? But, I thought Ozawa-sansaid nine-thirty.”    

“Oh, that’s right.” Nakata scratches his salt-and-pepper hair. “I mean nine-thirty.”

“I can be there nine,” I offer. 

“No, no. Nine-thirty’s fine.”

“Okay, I’ll be there at nine-thirty, then.”

“And don’t be late.”

What-the fuck-ever.

And with that the two of them are gone.

The first posting/chapter in this series can be found here.

Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.


All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

68. Paranoia

Friday afternoon, July 7th


Later when I’ve gotten back from Kokura, two officials from the Customs Office—Nakata, the pudgy one with the wimpy little mustache and Windbreaker—pay me a visit. Nakata told me yesterday that my cell phone would be returned today, but thanks to Azami’s incessant calling, the battery died before the data could be transferred. And now the two of them are entreating me, practically cap in hand, for the adaptor. They don’t have the authority to confiscate it out right, Nakata explaines with a tinge of embarrassment; my permission is required.

Were there anything remotely incriminating on my cell phone, I might not be so cooperative. Fortunately, I have for many years been in the habit of erasing all out-going texts, and keeping the in-box tidy, purposely free of anything that could implicate me, or my friends, in any crime or “extracurricular” love activity. I have dé Dale to thank for that.


Those first two grams of crystal meth didn’t last nearly as long as I had hoped. Imagine that! Before I knew it, I was buying a gram here, another there, but always for some express reason or another, of course. If it weren’t finals I had to cram for, then it was Giles Peterson DJ-ing at O/Dor a date with a hot nurse that required me to be sharperthan usual. Within six months of that first enlightening hit, I was buying five-gram bags of the drug for the bargain-basement price of seven thousand yen ($67) a gram.

Dé Dale meanwhile was buying the shit in bulk–twenty, thirty grams at a time–and, as a precaution, keeping most of his stash in a safe place an hour’s drive outside the city. Whenever he couldn’t be bothered, or was just too damn “baked” to make the trip, he would ring me up from a pay phone and ask to “borrow” a gram of “Shinji”, no different from, say, a neighbor knocking on your door to borrow a cup of sugar.

I’ll never forget that first neighborly visit.

Dé Dale wasted little time getting down to business. The Frenchman could be as methodical as a surgeon. After, giving the coffee table in my living room a good wipe down with tissue, he took the small packet of crystal meth I had given him and snipped a corner off with his Swiss Army knife. Placing the bit of plastic that he had just cut off in the center of the tissue, he twisted the tissue up.

Next, dé Dale set about preparing the foil. I handed him a strip, which he folded in half to form a perfect square. With another narrow fold along the open end he created a cuff sealing the foil. He then wiped the foil down with a fresh piece of tissue making it nice and flat, free of any wrinkles or creases where the meth might catch and burn. Finally, he manipulated the foil with his fingertips to form a shallow trough into which he then sprinkled some of the crystals.

Before lighting up, dé Dale dug a small, but powerful penlight out of his pocket and, illuminating the surface of the table, scoured every inch of the table and the surrounding floor.

“Aha,” dé Dale said, pointing to a speck on the table. “You see that?”

He dabbed at a splinter with the tip of his index finger and added it to the rest of the crystal on the foil. After placing the first tissue into the second and twisting the two of them up, he gestured for me to follow him to the toilet. There, he set the tissue alight, allowing it burn slowly and thoroughly.

“You may think I’m being paranoid,” dé Dale said, “but, my friend, paranoia has nothing to do with it. I’m merely being careful. And, I want you to be very careful, too. You have to realize what the risks are. Do you want to go to jail?”

“Of course not,” I said. “You think I’m stupid?”

“Well then, if you are so smart, I need not tell you that little piece of plastic in there could get you arrested. It’s not much, but it’s enough for the cops to take your freedom away, to put you behind bars until you talk, and believe me, you willtalk. If talking gets you out and back to your life, you will sing like le canari, just as everyone does.”

Dé Dale turned the tissue to keep the flame alive, and once satisfied he had destroyed any evidence, dumped it into the toilet and flushed it.

Mon ami, ici, ce n’est pas l’Amerique. La France non plus,” he said. This is not America, my friend. It’s not France, either. “The police won’t break down your door here. They’re much more subtle. The first thing they do is go through your garbage when you’re not around, then they go in and check all the surfaces in your apartment, wipe them all down, vacuum the floors. Then, they take it all to their labs to be tested. And if they find traces of our friend “Shinji”here, how are you gonna explain how he got here? A little bird flew it in?”

Dé Dale stared intently at me, looking past my eyes into that thick head of mine to listen to the thoughts.

“No, my friend, you will not say anything,” dé Dale continued. “Why? Because they won’t find anything here that incriminates you. And you know why? I will tell you why. Because, so long as you want to meet Shinji, you will be as careful as I am. You understand?”

I nodded.

Tres bien.”

We returned to the coffee table and lit up.

The first posting/chapter in this series can be found here.

Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.


All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

42. I'll be there.

After searching my apartment high and low for a full two hours and bagging up what scant evidence of wrongdoing they may have found, most of the agents are now allowed to leave. Hardly better than common thieves, the lot of them, they carry away all three of my Macs; the two cell phones; my passport and “gaijincard”;[1]as well as the Modafiniland Campho-Pheniquefrom my fridge. Nakata assures me that I will get it all of it back as soon as possible—tomorrow afternoon at the latest, he says.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Although the pile of shoes at the entry to my apartment has grown smaller, a mountain of paperwork remains. Most of the forms—from the document that accompanied my urine sample to the release forms for the evidence that has been hauled away and passwords for my computers—need to be itemized, signed and stamped with my inkan.

Were this Lebanon, the whole affair might end with a few kind words and a handshake greased with a generous baksheesh. Were I in the States, a lawyer might be at my side, stonewalling. I couldn’t be further from either place. I know that I have to make at least a token effort to appear as if I am cooperating, otherwise they will throw me in the can for a month to make me pay for my impudence.

Only when the final piece of paperwork is signed and stamped can the last of the cops, including Nakata and Ozawa, leave.

Ozawa gets up off the sofa where he has been sitting all morning. He asks me one more time if I know why the police have come to my place. I make a show of giving the question some deep consideration, then shake my head. “No, none whatsoever.”

He gives me a blue card with a map to his office on the back of it. At the bottom, he has scrawled his name and phone number.

“We want you to show up here at nine-thirty, Sunday morning. If for any reason you can’t make it, if, say, you become sick, or come down with a cold, or get busy with something, whatever the reason, call this number, okay?”

“Don’t worry. I will be there,” I answer. In the back of my mind, however, I am seriously considering lamming it.

“In the meantime, I want you to think carefully about what might have happened around you,” Ozawa says, gesturing towards the dining table, “and tell us anything you can. You understand?”


“Okay, see you Sunday.”

Nakata also gives me a card with his contact information. Looking at the card, I learn for the first time that he isn’t a cop after all. He is a Customs official.

As soon as they leave, I lock the door and go to the living room where I drop heavily onto the couch and clutch my head to keep it from screaming open.

[1]All foreign residents in Japan are required to register with their local ward office if they live in cities, town offices if they live in smaller towns. Once registered, they will be given a photo ID called the Certificate of Alien Registration which they must carry on their person at all times and present to authorities when asked. The rules and name for this changed in 2013. Many foreigners call them “gaijincards”.

The first posting/chapter in this series can be found here.

Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.