So to some this story may not seem too scary but for me, this was one of the scariest nights of my entire life.
First, I’ll start off with some much needed background information before I get into the story.
I’m a 22 year old blonde female from America that studied abroad from 2015-2016 in Japan. One of my best friends from my university also came to the same school as me in Japan. Due to privacy reasons like just call her Alex.
Another important key fact is that the drinking age in the U.S. is 21 whilst in Japan it is 20. Of course I would drink and go to house parties in the U.S., but I had little to no bar/club experience until I went to Japan. Now let’s get on with the story.
I studied in a big and more southern city from Tokyo in Japan. Of course, Japan is one of the safest countries in the entire world. Compared to my life and where I live in the U.S., I had never felt so safe during my entire year in Japan compared to my entire life I lived in America.
Being that Alex and I have been studying Japanese for 4+ years, it was really easy making friends with just about anybody. Something that I have always cherished and loved was making friends with people who couldn’t speak English at all because for some reason, those conversations gave me so much more feelings. When I say we can make friends with just anybody….I REALLY mean ANYBODY.
Alex and I love to party and drink. I wouldn’t call us stereotypical party girls however, we like to have fun. That’s the university life right? Especially in Japan, the drinking culture is one of the most important parts to the culture in general. It’s honestly how I made majority of my friends. One of those “anybody” friends is a Japanese guy that we’ll just call Yuu.
Alex and I loved hanging out in this slightly off the beaten path, “sketchy-ish” bar that sold super cheap drinks and was owned by foreigners. We felt very safe there due to the weekly visits and becoming friends will all the staff members, DJ and regulars. When anybody would mess with us people always were watching out for us.This is why we often would let our guards down and trust people almost naturally.
Our “friend” Yuu was one of those people we thought we could trust. He would joke around all the time, buy us drinks, get to know us…the normal friend stuff. However, something he would always do when he would get REALLY drunk, he would go on and on about how he is in the Yakuza (The Japanese Mafia for those of you who don’t know). He would talk about hurting people, being powerful, having tons of money, the kind of the stereotypical “gangster” showing-off. This didn’t really set any alarm bells off for us because we met TONS of drunk people who would say similar things and it was always a joke. For Yuu however, that’s a different story.
One night in particular, Yuu was extremely drunk and started trying to pick fights with anyone at the bar. He was acting SUPER aggressive and possessive. Alex and I agreed that since Yuu was a bit strange, we would always be a little cautious because of his unique….character. Alex and I were sitting on a big square couch across from Yuu, watching him go off. His eyes were completely bugging out of his head almost like those squeeze stress relief toys. Alex tried to help calm him because the owner (who is also one of our friends) said if he doesn’t stop we all have to leave. At this time it was about 1 am and all the trains and subways were closed for the night. This meant a 1 plus hour walk home for Alex before the trains start to run again at 8 am.
As Alex tries to calm him, he just starts going off on her. It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t speak Japanese but particularly the Yakuza, have a very specific way of talking. Sort of like rolling their R’s in Spanish, but a bit different and more scary sounding. He begins shouting at the top of his lungs that Alex and I needed to return to our home country and leave Japan. He yelled on and on about how Alex and I are whores and awful women and that he wants to kill us. Alex and I start to panic and my heart was about to jump out of my chest. As he was saying earlier to other people he continued to scream how he was in the Yakuza and has killed many people. As Alex and I stand up to leave, he lifts up his shirt to show us something. If someone was to capture a picture of Alex and I in that exact moment, our jaws would be on the floor. Grazed across Yuu’s chest is countless bullet holes, scars and scratches across his body.
After he lifted his shirt, the owner starts screaming and says we all have to leave. WITH Yuu. Alex and I run down the stairs and hide behind a bike area to talk about what we are going to do. Our other Japanese friends we were with and Yuu, came down stairs and began looking for us. They all were so calm except for Yuu. Alex and I whisper about walking a bit with them and when they arn’t looking, bolting in the other direction and running home. We come out and Yuu is still beyond angry. As we all walk the streets, he is yelling at Alex and still calling us names and saying that we need to leave. Our other friends are trying to calm him and keep telling us that he’s just joking. We knew this was no joke. I barely drank and I felt like I was going to vomit everywhere because I was so scared.
At one point we notice Yuu begins to charges at Alex. With all the force he could muster he tries to swing at her and punch her in the face. Everyone holds him back and that is when Alex and I make a break for it. We run faster than our little bodies and legs have ever run in our entire lives. For the life of me, I still can’t figure out why but I turned my head back one last time to see Yuu. He was walking away from the group on his phone, still glaring at us.
A solid 30 minutes pass from the incident and Alex and I begin to calm down. We know we can’t go to the police or talk to anyone about this so, we tried to talk about ghost stories or anything else to get our mind off of what just happened. The streets are basically empty since we are no longer downtown and it was rare to have more than two cars at most, pass us. Alex and I noticed a white maintenance van with it’s brights on coming towards us. Normally this wouldn’t affect me but for some reason, something different feel right. The moment that thought crossed into my mind, Alex and I looked directly at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing. We both could just feel the hairs on the back of our necks standing straight up. This was true and utter pure fear. We let the van pass us but as it does, it slows almost to a crawl and rolls the windows down. Some very huge men with sunglasses and wide grins were sitting in it. Not dressed in construction clothes but nice club wear. They drive past us and half-way down the road, they come to a complete stop. My brain literally feels like it feel into my stomach. At a quickening high speed, the van begins to reverse and comes racing in our direction. Alex and I yet again make a break into a small alley and run for our lives. As we run we hear the doors open and raging footsteps follow after us screaming at us to stop or they will kill us. Alex screams to me in English to keep running and makes eyes towards the river and bridge running near us. We dart into the river forgetting about our nice clothes we had on and just ran down the rocky river bed. We would slip and trip over the slimy rocks but we didn’t care. We needed to get out of there. No matter how much blood was running down my legs, I couldn’t give up. We both dared not to look back because we knew who they were.
Eventually we hit a small forest line of trees near our dorm and run into them. Climbing up the largest tree we could spot. We held our hands over our mouths, and I looked over at Alex watching as the silent tears stream down both sides of her face. The men just kept laughing. This laugh was cold and calculated. It made my bones shiver and burnt my skin at the same time. They knew what they were doing. I still can’t get that laugh out of my head.
We sat there until the sun rose which felt like years, until we no longer heard the men talking and walking around.
Alex and I have only talked about this night once. I can’t be 100% certain but I still believe to this day they were doing this because of Yuu. This didn’t feel random because rarely does the Yakuza do something like this in public, ESPECIALLY to TWO foreigners. They don’t like getting involved with foreigners from what my other friends say.
And that’s it. Alex and I avoided Yuu for the rest of our last semester like the black plague and we returned back to America. But the story doesn’t end here.
Alex and I are about to leave in a month to go back to the same city in Japan to study abroad again. We made a couple different announcement posts on our social medias some months back, excited for our return. The whole reason I’m even writing this story is because just today I opened my instagram and noticed I had a message. I opened it and it was from none other than Yuu, asking me what day we will be back this fall…