Upheaval in the Hood- Are you Safe in Japan?

For those of you afraid to travel, fearful that danger lurks around every corner, certain that muggers spying your fanny pack and camera might mark you as made, Japan should be the first international stop out of the neighborhood cul de sac. Undoubtedly, Japan is the safest place for a traveler.

Just don’t come to our neighborhood when  you arrive. Because I live in it. I move about this hood unremarkable to those who pass. Most passersby don’t cast a second glance in my direction, unless curious as to my close genetic ties to Howard Stern, possibly in the form of his female twin. They usually only notice the children by my side who inherited good genes from their father, but otherwise, I am undistinguishable amongst the ExPat, late-40’s crowd. I blend – perfect for my ruse- as I am the bane of the block. No one would suspect I could wreak such havoc in one day. Not only am I bad to the bone, the members of my gang are equally twisted establishing the bond which keeps our covey in tact. The debacles this week tumbled one after the other as I progressed from one scene to the next….The snakebit neighbors could only watch in consternation as their happy place tumbled further in to my fetid domain.

Some of you readers may remember me bragging about the delicious, mouth-watering bolgogi (Korean Barbeque) available here at Costco and the further explanation of the mini table top grill secured later on which to cook this feast. Well, I have been cooking bolgogi on the table top grill at least once a week for quite some time now with one issue of concern arising on each occasion. Smoke. Lots of it. Since I am a sensible woman, and leery of attracting the fire department, I moved the table top grill to the outside table. Problem solved. The grill surface encompasses a small 12×7 pan size top, so one can imagine that it takes some time to get the meat cooked. I sit on the deck, with my phone, play Solitaire, threaten the Offspring not to open the sliding glass doors, and hope that smoke inhalation is not my cause of death. I have been vexed as to why our apartment is still filled with smoke when my grilling is complete. So much smoke, in fact, that I had to re-do my folded laundry after the last smoking session. What I did not know, however, was that I also filled the other two apartments on our floor with smoke. This alerted the management to the apparent contraband in my possession.

Consequently, I was busted by the man for possession of illegal material, and my grill was promptly banned from the premises. Apparently grills are not to be used on the decks. I of course appealed, my argument based on the premise of the legality of my table top teriyaki plate, not grill, which happened to be used outside, therefore was not illicit or illegal material. The judge swayed by this definition of terms ordered instead that I not choke the neighbors again. Now that I’m known to have had “contraband” some  neighbors have approached asking in hushed tones if I can obtain certain items- my reputation as a woman who can “get things” having grown. Of course I oblige. I charge them a smidgen above what Amazon Japan charges me for shipping.

The following story spread faster than Charlie Sheen’s interview. I rode my Mama Cheri (Bike with two baskets) to the store for my daily supply run. I stopped to get laundry detergent at one store, put it in the back basket, parked, went in the grocery store, shopped, hopped on the bike, and rode home. I unloaded my bags but couldn’t find the laundry detergent. “Damn- it must’ve fallen out when I went over the curb.” It was then I realized my bike was red. When I bought my Mama Cheri, I really wanted a red or pink one, but neither color was available. Although I didn’t recall what color my Mama Cheri was, I knew it wasn’t red. This wasn’t my bike. I jumped on and pedaled faster than the Wicked Witch of the West- her theme song playing in my mind through out my race back to the scene of my crime. I skidded on to the grocery store side-walk just in time to encounter a confused Japanese woman walking up and down the row of bikes obviously searching, and not finding, hers. I rode up, “Kore ii deska?” the closest I could get to “Is this yours?” She nodded guardedly. I threw it at her, bowed like a bobbing cork float 15 times low, said I was sorry 30 times, grabbed what I hoped was my bike, according to the pictures I took on my blog post it was, and rode off before she could call the popo. Now, everyone in the hood has been encouraged to lock their bikes.

Finally, in the coup de grace, one of my homeys extended our gang’s reign of terror at a recent wedding shower. One of those edge- of -your- seat games was in full swing- “name all the famous couples you can think of, ” in 5 minutes. The person with the most wins the door prize. Homey got a text from an international private school forcing her to pause from the furious list making. The hostess, mistaking her text reading for internet searching, accused her of cheating and game fixing. She was summarily ejected without appeal. An international ban on wedding shower attendance is currently in place for this particular thug and all neighbors have been advised to report her to the appropriate authorities should they witness her in disguise or in character as one of her aliases. She’s a real bad seed that one.

People, this is how we roll in my hood.

So folks, except for this particular area, yes, Japan is a very safe place, a country where one can safely walk the streets alone, night or day whether male or female. If one drops a wallet, it will get turned in to the nearest Koban station (police box) on the corner- with all the contents in place. Cab drivers don’t take advantage of foreigners. The change is always right.

But do be careful in my hood, and you heard it from me….

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34 Responses to Upheaval in the Hood- Are you Safe in Japan?

  1. I like your style. It’s very funny!


    • amblerangel says:

      Thanks- I so enjoyed the story of you and your brother raising the antenae- boys are so creative…I’m still trying to figure out why the roof of my station wagon looks like it was pelted with baseballs- my oldest male offspring is at the root of it…somehow


  2. LOL You’re just a one-woman crime wave, aren’t you?!

    Do you really play Solitaire on your cellphone? I do that when I have a migraine – something about the repetitive actions calm me. Although I’ve graduated to the more complicated versions of the game now.


    • amblerangel says:

      I know- people who know really feel as of they’re living on the edge…

      The truth is- I’ve tried to play Scrabble- to hard to think of words when you have to.
      Too dumb to play bridge and poker – so- I just do mindless Solitaire. Too non committal to play others on line- in anything.I love it so.


  3. Okay–I laughed so hard reading this that Sara insisted I tell her what was so funny. I only shared the part about the bike (I promise–didn’t want the word of you and your clan to spread all the way to Haiti) and she laughed out loud, as well.
    This is a great one!

    Hugs from my Haitian hood,


  4. cam smith says:

    Em, I need your new e mail address girl!
    Love ya


  5. Day-unm Girl, you are onnnnne mean bad ass!! Good thing you are on the other side of the planet form me, or I’d be fearful every time I rode my bike! LOL.

    you had me laughing out loud. loved it!


    • amblerangel says:

      Spouse predicted this would happen after the “Arizona incident.” We had just moved, our house address number was long and not easily committed to memory, houses all looked the same… I drove up and down the street unable to decide which one was ours. Luckily, he was home so when I called he could come out and wave me in with the red flags.


  6. Tori Nelson says:

    Haha! You are one bad, Mama Jamma.
    Just imagine all the Thin Lips looks you are destined to receive 🙂


  7. The nose says:

    I am laughing my a– off! “there goes the neighborhood”. Kudos for racing back to scene of crime and making things right. I am not sure what I would have done (besides vomit for the next three days), bring it back in the middle of the night? Assume “she” took mine and we would figure it out later? It has all the makings of a good Seinfeld episode. Maybe you should start writing a screenplay. Courtney Cox ( not Howard Stern) will play you.


    • amblerangel says:

      I wondered the whole way back if I could out ride the popo on the bike if they were there…. Could ride like a bat out of Hell to the American Embassy for asylum until I could explain my situation?


  8. Lisa says:

    Classic! Thanks so much for the laugh. 😀


  9. Dana says:

    Oooh.. is your gang international? I feel like I deserve to be a part of it– Canadian Chapter– given that I live in the local ghetto with posses for neighbours. Can we make up secret handshakes and pick out our exclusive bandana colours? Haha. Great post for a laugh today– thanks! 🙂


    • amblerangel says:

      Dana- we like to ride dirty so you’ll have get yourself a Canadian version of the Mama Cherie with the two baskets, we don’t like bandanas because it flattens hard earned salon hair, but we do sport a fanny pack in a pinch. Can you hang with that?


  10. TheIdiotSpeaketh says:

    A bicycle thieving firebug eh? I like how you roll! 🙂


  11. Ann Chiodo says:

    Sooo funny! The streets will never be safe as long as the Wicked Witch of the West is out there! I was humming with you!


  12. Pingback: The Sunday Paper: Straight Outta Compton « The Ramblings

  13. CSI Susie says:

    This goes into my “Top 5” of your blog entries. So funny, it was like a bladder control test trying to read it without peeing my pants.


  14. Very funny post. I have never unknowingly stolen a bike before, but I did wheel someone else’s cart around a grocery store once. I got to the dairy section, suddenly realized, in horror, that some of the stuff in the cart didn’t look like items I would eat, much less buy, and looked around for my cart. A very nice, polite couple of about my age was stalking me (apparently had been for a while), with my cart in tow, patiently waiting for me to figure it out. We traded what we needed to trade, kept what we needed to keep, and went on our separate ways. Enjoyed reading your earthquake post also; was so much more interesting than just the shaky news videos.


  15. Mana says:

    Hahaha, that was a great post. Love reading about home 🙂


  16. melsar93 says:

    I’m late to the party but I found this post via EduCalyton.

    Great Post. There’s only one thing I don’t understand, Why do they call you Red?


  17. God, that is equally funny the second time around! Hope some of my readers take a look at this.


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