Ever had one of those awkward moments where you end up sitting next to the wrong person on a train or bus and wish you could be anywhere else? Well, imagine finding yourself next to an actual yakuza, complete with tattoos, missing pinky, and an aura that says “don’t mess with me.” That’s exactly what happened to you on your trip to Tokyo last month. There you were, minding your own business on the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo, when Mr. Yakuza sat down right beside you, glared in your direction, and proceeded to make a series of angry phone calls for the entire two-hour ride. You did your best to avoid eye contact, stay perfectly still, and hope your racing pulse wasn’t visible. By the time you arrived in Tokyo, you weren’t sure if you’d ever felt so relieved yet terrified at the same time. And that, my friends, is the story of how you survived sitting next to a scary yakuza.

Setting the Scene: A Crowded Train in Tokyo

The train is packed, as usual for Tokyo at rush hour. You manage to squeeze into one of the few remaining seats, relieved to finally rest your aching feet.

That relief evaporates when you notice the men on either side of you. Tattoos peek out from under their shirt sleeves, and their pinky fingers are missing – a telltale sign of Yakuza membership. Your heart begins to pound.

  • The man to your right is huge, taking up most of the seat. His eyes are hidden behind dark sunglasses, but you can feel him staring at you.
  • The man to your left fondles something in his pocket, probably not a phone based on the shape. A knife? You gulp, trying not to panic.

You know that avoiding direct eye contact is best. You stare firmly at the floor, unmoving, for the entire ride. Your mind races, envisioning every possible way this could end badly. Will they threaten you? Hurt you? Demand money?

After what seems like an eternity, the train slows to your stop. You leap up, mumble “sumimasen,” and squeeze past the men as quickly as possible.

Finally on the platform, you turn to see the men still in their seats, expressionless behind their sunglasses. They make no move to follow you.

You escape out into the bustling station, pulse gradually slowing. Your whirlwind Yakuza encounter is over, leaving you rattled but unharmed. You’ve never been so grateful to end a train ride.

Noticing the Intimidating Man in a Black Suit

You settle into your seat on the train, excited for a few hours of peaceful reading during your journey. That is, until the intimidating man sits down next to you. He’s wearing a well-tailored black suit and his eyes seem to pierce right through you.

Uh oh. This guy looks like he means business – literally. The slicked back hair, the flashy watch, the way he surveys the other passengers coldly. All signs point to him being a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia.

Your heart starts pounding as the man turns his gaze on you. His expression remains impassive but those eyes, those eyes see everything. You grip your book tightly, wishing you could melt into your seat and disappear.

For the next few minutes, you sit rigidly, uncomfortably aware of his every movement in your peripheral vision. You expect him to pull out a gun or knife at any moment. Your mind races with worst-case scenarios and escape plans.

After what seems like an eternity, the man stands up and exits the train at the next stop. You release a sigh of relief as his threatening presence disappears from your side. Your body starts to relax again now that the human embodiment of danger has left your vicinity.

Though your encounter only lasted a short while, it was more than enough excitement for one train ride. You’ve had your fill of yakuza encounters to last you a lifetime, thank you very much! From now on, you’ll be choosing your seats far more carefully.

The Yakuza’s Surprising Friendliness

When the yakuza sat down next to me, I have to admit I was intimidated. His tattoos peeked out from under his suit, and he looked like someone you didn’t want to mess with. But to my surprise, he struck up a friendly conversation.

  • “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” he said with a smile. I nodded, unsure of how to respond. He didn’t seem to notice my discomfort and kept chatting.
  • He asked where I was from and what I did for a living. I told him I was a teacher. “Ah, that’s wonderful. Teachers have such an important job shaping the next generation.”
  • We ended up talking the whole train ride. He told me about his daughters and asked for recommendations on educational toys and books for them. This menacing man turned out to be a doting father worried about raising his girls well.
  • As we arrived at our stop, he handed me his business card. “Please let me know if there’s any way I can support the school or students. We want the best for the children in our community.” I was stunned by his kindness and generosity.

My encounter taught me not to judge someone based only on appearances. There was clearly more to this yakuza than met the eye. Beneath the intimidating exterior was a caring family man committed to his community. You never know who might turn out to be a friend if you give them a chance. Open your mind and open your heart—that’s when the real connections happen.

Relaxing and Enjoying the Conversation

Now that the initial awkwardness has passed, you start to relax and enjoy some light conversation with this seemingly scary yakuza. You comment on how lovely the cherry blossoms look this spring, a safe topic of small talk in Japan. He agrees and mentions how fleeting yet beautiful they are, a poetic insight you wouldn’t expect from someone with his intimidating appearance.

You chat about various shared interests like art, music, food and travel. His knowledge and cultured perspectives continue to surprise you. There’s clearly more to this mysterious man than meets the eye. Any preconceptions you had are slowly melting away with each engaging discussion.

He speaks articulately about life’s deeper meaning and

philosophy in a way that makes you reflect on your own views. You find yourself opening up in turn, sharing some of your personal hopes, dreams and struggles. A genuine connection starts to form, transcending outward appearances.

You lose track of time as the conversation flows effortlessly from topic to topic. The initial awkwardness and tension have transformed into a sense of comfort and familiarity. There’s an unspoken understanding that you’ve both misjudged each other, and are now seeing beneath the surface.

When your stop approaches, you feel a tinge of regret that this enlightening exchange must end. You stand up, thank him sincerely for the thought-provoking conversation and wish him a good day. He nods with a hint of a smile, hands you a business card and says: “Let’s continue this another time.”

You accept gratefully, knowing you have gained an unlikely yet valuable new friend. This chance encounter has taught you an important lesson about looking beyond first impressions and stereotypes to the shared humanity within us all.

Parting Ways With a New Perspective

The train ride seemed to drag on forever as you sat there, frozen in place. Your heart pounded so loudly you were sure the yakuza man could hear it. When your stop finally arrived, you leapt from your seat and hurried off the train, eager to put as much distance between you and that menacing figure as possible.

Once you were safely out of the station, you paused to catch your breath and reflect on what had just transpired. That terrifying encounter gave you a sobering glimpse into a dark and dangerous world that exists just out of view for most people. A world filled with cruelty, violence and fear that fuels criminal empires.

Yet in that moment of panic, you also gained a new appreciation for the simple freedoms and security you usually take for granted. The ability to sit wherever you like on the train. To travel wherever and whenever you want without fear of retaliation or repercussion. To live in a place where the rule of law prevails over the rule of force.

Your brush with the Japanese mafia reminded you that peace and safety are fragile things that require constant vigilance to maintain. But it also reinforced how precious basic liberties are, and how important it is that we defend them for everyone in our society.

Though it was an unsettling experience, your encounter with that menacing yakuza gave you an unexpected gift. A sobering glimpse into the darkness that makes us value the light. And a newfound gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy each and every day.


So there you have it, a glimpse into what it’s like to share space with a real-life yakuza. As terrifying as the experience was, looking back you’re glad you got to witness a piece of living history. The yakuza have been an inextricable part of Japanese culture for centuries, for better or worse. Though their numbers are dwindling, they remain an ominous and mysterious presence. Next time you’re on a train in Japan, look around carefully—you never know who might be riding along with you. At least now you’ll have an interesting story of your own to share, even if it does make your friends think twice about visiting Japan! Stay safe out there, and watch out for those tattoos.

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