Night Patrol Teacher · Translations

Night Patrol Teacher cont.

Chapter 5: The Unatonable Mistake
Takashi was in a motorcycle gang.

When he was a freshman in high school I met him in the kingdom of night.

Becoming a full-fledged gangster had been Takashi’s dream since he was in junior high school, so he was overjoyed to partake in a motorcycle gang’s meeting.

Takashi said “Ketsumochi*!” and drove to the very back of the group in front of the pursuing patrol cars to serve as an obstruction.

Within a motorcycle gang ketsumochi is the most honorable thing a gang member can do and the most hated by the police.

In any case, both his friends and myself had the unchanging opinion that he was a very gently person.
When speaking of motorcycle gangs, most people raise an eyebrow in detest. However, I have always thought of them as victims. They (the children that make up the gangs) are ignored by their parents, teachers, and society and live without being embraced in the light of day.

It is because of this that they, even if it is foolish, see to find self expression in joining a gang.

If these children give up to the isolation forced on them by society, society in turn crushes them.
The truth is that he (Takashi) lied a poor life with his father.

When we was three year old, he lost his mother and his father continually beat him. If there was ever something that bothered or trouble his father, his father would quickly extinguish his cigarette on Takashi’s bare skin. It is because of this that the entirety of his back was burnt and scarred. The scars were the cause of bullying and Takashi hardly went to elementary school to avoid being bullied. What’s more, he looked at the world with tainted eyes and began walking down the path of delinquency.

Takashi was horribly wild and rough. He would provoke the police in front of their own station and seek fights with patrol cars as part of his daily routine. These hang-like acts were not done half-heartedly.
Every time I would meet with Takashi, I would mention is good points and attempt to show him that he could live differently. However, Takashi had so much pride in his motorcycle gang member self that he would not listen at all. For him, the only place that acknowledged him was that gang, and my hopes could not come true easily.

On day, Takashi came to me with a pale face.

“Sensei…what should I do…?”

This is what happened three months after he had joined the motorcycle gang.

Takashi was too poor to be able to buy his own bike, so he always rode on the back of one of his
senpai’s bike.
However, Takashi could not feel satisfied with this, so his senpai told him, “it’s no big deal, just steal money from a bank or post office.”

Takashi was panicked.

Senpai, that’s bad (not a good idea). At post offices and banks there are security cameras…they would quickly see my face and catch me.”

“Not inside the bank, stupid. You would steal money from the people who just left. Target the old people who seem to be protecting their bags more than the others. It’s right after payday now, so there is probably a lot of money in their accounts. I’ll distract them with my bike while you grab their bag from behind.”

Takashi took everything his senpai said in and did it.

The next day around lunch, an old woman exited a post office parallel to a national highway. She lived with just her husband and on this day had decided to take home 180,000 yen of her retirement money home. That money was her entire life’s savings.

Takashi, not knowing these circumstances, mislead this old woman and took all her money. His senpaigave the signal and threw his bike forward. Takashi took the seat behind his senpai and without hesitation took her bag. The old woman cried, “STOP!” and clung desperately to their bike.
As a result, this small act of opposition proved lethal.

She clung onto the bike for about seven meters until her head hit a guard rail.

The accident was written up in the next day’s morning newspaper and all I could think on my way to work was, “I hope it was not one of my students who did this.”

However, Takashi came to visit me. I knew the moment I saw his face that one of the criminals I had read about this morning was Takashi. His face was blue and his entire body trembled.

“You…You did it?”

When I began to ask, Takashi became unable to stand and collapsed on the spot.

“Sensei…what should I do…?”

“You know what you should do. Even in elementary school you learned that you have to take ownership of the things you do, no matter the consequences. You can’t run away.”

Then Takashi said this.

“Sensei, I’ll turn myself in. Could you please take me to the police?”

I took him by the head and shook him.

“Hold on a minute. You are a criminal now, so it is only obvious that you will turn yourself in. But, before you became a criminal you were my friend, a student, and a human being. You still are those things. So, as a human being, before turning yourself in isn’t there something you should do?”

At this, Takashi dropped his head and thought hard for 10 minutes.

“Sensei, I want to go and apologize. I want to go and visit (her).”

I was very happy (to hear him say this).

Even Takashi had been left with a heart.

I called an acquaintance of mine who was a reporter and went with Takashi to the hospital where the old woman was being treated. After more than 24 hours after the accident she had shown no progress and was still being kept in intensive care (ICU). In front of her bed sat one lonely small old man.

I knew at that moment that he was her only family.

When Takashi saw the feeble old man, he whimpered slightly and began to run towards him, throwing himself at the man’s feet. He then looked back and forth between the bed and the old man before he continued.

“I’m sorry, I did it, I’m so sorry.”

Takashi had cut his forehead while doing this and there were now several drops of blood on the floor.
But the old man did not say a word. He did not even open his mouth.

The treatments were to no avail and the old woman died of a cerebral contusion.

Takashi was charged with murder and robbery and would have to pay for his crimes.

Even now I cannot suppress my feelings of guilt for Takashi. If only Takashi had had a warm family, I have confidence that that accident would have never happened.

Takashi was another victim of adult neglect and abuse.

*Ketsumochi literally translates to “holding your butt” or “holding the rear.” It is the act of driving really slowly in front of pursuing police cars as a means to slow down their attack on the gang – giving the rest of the gang enough time to escape.

ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ

I know, my translations for this book are never really happy. However, what Mizutani-san writes about are all very important stories – stories that most of Japanese society refuse to recognize. That is why he wrote this book, to open society’s eyes to the problems that are existing right now and to warn everyone, even children, that these stories and situations could happen to anyone. He just wants people to become more aware of how our actions or lack of action affects and effects everything and everyone around us. It really is a fascinating book to read. I am about half way through this book and will start translating another book (1 Litre of Tears) when I have finished. Sorry, next book is going to be a downer as well.

ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*・゚♡゚・*:.ღ

In other news, it is almost Golden Week in Japan, and that means lots of vacation time for me! Yay! Maybe I will have a short post about Golden Week a little later (aka once I get home from work). For me, it means I have about two weeks of no work (I am taking some added paid vacation days) because my mommy is coming to Japan and staying with me during that time (Hi Mom!). Next post on my list is a picture post of a shrine I pass on my way to work and maybe a post about how I do laundry in Japan (mostly because I know my parents are curious).


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