Somebody is watching you…

And, they are going to tell!
watching_small
Seen in and around Gotanda the last couple weeks.

I usually love the feeling of anonymity I have in Tokyo. Even though it is illusory, the sheer size of the city and number of people often makes me feel as if nobody sees me. Of course, I’ve run into people from work in unlikely places, and I’ve had many students tell me some variation of “I saw you at (insert station here) doing (insert hopefully innocuous activty here).” many times, but this poster really got under my skin.

The ever vigilant Osaki Police Department usually limits itself to posters in banks and ATMs about “suspicious foreigners” and “sneaky” thefts, but they’ve really raised the level of paranoia to a generalized feeling of constant threat with this one. The caution yellow background, angry red lettering, and flaming pupil eyes are really creepy. This poster is in such stark contrast to the usual cute exhortations of safety first, no littering, and be careful that it really makes me wonder.

The fact that the first one I saw was hanging across the street from my apartment made me look over my shoulder just a little bit. Since then, I’ve spotted one pasted to a wall in a quiet side-street on my way to the post office, one on a public bulletin board in front of a small temple, and one sticker on a vending machine around the corner.

Just what is it that somebody is watching for, and who are they? Are they going to tell their mother?

5 Comments so far

  1. Reika (unregistered) on October 4th, 2004 @ 5:51 pm

    woah, that sign is kinda freaky.. talk about encouraging paranoia


  2. Ted O'Neill (unregistered) on October 4th, 2004 @ 7:42 pm

    Yup. Encouraging paranoia. Sounds bad unless you just think of it as a contradiction. Is there some kind of paranoia that can encourage you and make you feel better?

    I’m so tired of people trying to make everybody feel scared. I have no idea why the cops in my neighborhood are trying to freak people out. Do they feel left out without alert levels of yellow, orange, and red to play with?

    Has anybody else seen these around? Or, is it just in Gotanda?


  3. rick (unregistered) on October 5th, 2004 @ 10:10 am

    Interesting,but,Im not going to stop!!!


  4. D.L.A. (unregistered) on October 5th, 2004 @ 12:23 pm

    Great signs. I wish they had them here in Akishima and Tachikawa. There has been an influx of, how does one say it, ah shifty characters sitting on the sidewalks, occupying certain sections of the train station, and strolling down the streets. From their attitude, it is obvious that they consider themselves untouchable. Maybe these shifty looking characters need to see something like this to give them pause. At the least it may deter other youths from straying.

    Hopefully these signs will also encourage the local citizens to approach the authorities. As it stands now, not many people have faith in the PD.


  5. Adam (unregistered) on October 6th, 2004 @ 5:46 am

    That just proves to me that the police in japan are just undergoing a scare campaign and and there’s no real threat from foreigners or little kids or whatever.



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