Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I was a bit frustrated so I decided to digitally ink an old Didi sketch since nothing else felt feasible...the difference in emotion between the sketch and final is kinda neat, come to think of it. I also like how the color version really ties the image more thematically to the comic after all.

I had an art get-together Tuesday far off in Harajuku, and only being able to make it back to my home station around 11:30pm, I got stopped by the police as I was headed for the bus. I've heard these are supposed to be "random" stops, but why on Earth (specifically Japan) am I always chosen for these idiotic quiz shows? Oh, wait, it's because I'm visibly not Japanese, perhaps especially because I have dark skin. I've noticed they tend to search me when I'm at a main station, but no love for the out-of-the-way spots. Racism is fine as long as it's convenient, I guess.

What sickened me about this latest stop was how thoroughly they searched me. I don't know if they are legally allowed to do that and were taking advantage of me for a power trip--in the US, police need a warrant or probable cause to search you legally. I have been lightly searched before, but it was gross how closely they examined my belongings, including my wallet. I've said it before and I'll say it again, though, I'd take Japan's annoying racism over the US's violent racism any day.

As much as I love Japan, don't kid yourself, this place is racist, and I experience forms of racism on a nearly daily basis. Most of it is entirely innocuous, like people giving you WAY too much space when walking around you on the sidewalk, if they hadn't already dashed to the other side of the street first--an old lady nearly sprinted to do this one time. Some will walk right in the middle of the road to avoid being within breath of you. I like to play a game where I match these streetwalkers' pace so they have to keep walking on the street if they want to refuse to join me on the sidewalk like a human being. The best part is if they act like I'm being the jerk.

Back when I used to take the train daily, people seemingly would rather ride the outside of the train than sit next to you, but whatever, in that case, excellent--less people crowding you in cramped quarters. There's also the phenomenon of people blatantly staring at you, like you're a monkey in a tutu reading a newspaper, but while I ordinarily dislike eye contact, nothing is more satisfying than staring down people who don't even try to hide that they're staring at you. Again, they often act as if you're the problem when they finally look away, flustered.

Anyway, those racist police apparently had an issue with the scissors I kept in my bag, which I've always had since the rural school days. They acted like A) they had never conceived of people carrying scissors, B) they couldn't imagine why anyone would have scissors at all, and C) I might possibly have had notions to use this as a weapon some day. I hate how they have to (over)act so clueless, as if they have never experienced or could adapt to experiencing such an event as someone having regular old, convenience-store-bought scissors--this includes any time any JP service is confronted with a situation that isn't strictly textbook-training routine. They have to put on a show like they are trying their darndest to gee-golly figure out the situation for ya, but it's a plumb noodle-scratcher, by gum.

How brain-dead are you that you can't either adjust whatever limp hamster is running your processes, or at least give the person you're inconveniencing and degrading the courtesy of not putting on the middle school drama club production of "Man Checks Bag"?

They know they are delaying me but they always act like what is going on is beyond their control, as if they are running a computer program that is simply loading and we can only sit and watch until the status bar fills, but meanwhile they keep going over and over the same thing, down to measuring how long the scissors are and asking what they were for, multiple times, respectively. Assuming both steps are necessary, addressing them once should be enough for competent police of non-goldfish descent.

I have complied with all your stupid questions, allowed you to search me despite feeling it was unwarranted, and satisfactorily provided my walking papers, get out of my face and let me catch the bus to get to my foreigner-permitted housing, which is as always, a racist million miles away from any convenient station.

Oh, wait, I missed the bus by one minute and literally saw it drive away as I approached the bus stop, so now I have to wait for half an hour in the ~0C degree cold for the next one because the bus schedule guts itself after midnight. Yes, also, it is now after midnight, you idiots. No, your smiling, aww-shucks chuckling, and apologizing for keeping me doesn't magically remedy the situation.

I got home and felt sick, exhausted, and unable to continue work or even sketch. Plugging away on this the next day helped, I guess. And so that's the story behind this piece and why I made Didi's shadow smile. Because of those idiots. Those racist idiots.

That said, I'd rather fear being delayed by racist cops than shot in the head by them. So there's that.

Not normal,


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