Yokohama, Japan Circa 2009
Gabriel was beginning to feel slightly nervous. The six men in the Cadillac stretch limo now speeding towards Yokohama were obviously feeling it too. Nijitora was driving. He had been drinking all day as was his custom every day, every week. That was the old school of gangster boss in Japan. Or had he actually graduated from the Yakuza? This was what was weighing on Gabriel’s mind, having only met him a week before. Now he was unwittingly, and yes, perhaps even dangerously embedded in this very different world. Shit!
The six men were all watching gangster rap videos in the back of the aged white limo. They all had identical and rather pretentious blazers on. Were they recruits in some bizarre new kind of private army? “ Shades of harakiri author and die hard imperialist, Yukio Mishima anybody? ” , mused Gabriel to himself as he pulsed to the music with them. “These guys would not know Mishima from Colonel Sanders the way they were brought up.” He could not help but sardonically add to this internal dialogue. Unknown to them, Mishima, who for many represented the soul of Japanese literature, had dressed up a lot of his gay friends and followers in military uniforms and had conducted training camps for them.
Then he had busted into the ministry of defence, took hostages and stood on the roof exhorting post war Japanese to get their bushido shit back together or else. Yeah, the way of the warrior alright! Then he had slit his guts and after a lot of badly aimed hits, got his head chopped off by his lover. It was on the cover of Paris Match. His head that is.
But these characters, well, they lamely sported matching badges which read ‘neosapiens’ meaning ‘new’ people. That would be right in this culture of rigorously maintained sameness, yeah right, new humans. Some of them, even a year or two before, had been living the lives of the impossibly regular salaryman. That was like just about every other man in this amazingly well controlled culture.
Some had been in corporate advertising, net business and computers, some even in banking. Yet, God knows why, they had dropped everything to follow this wiry and charismatic punk. It was he of course who now drove this old style status symbol at near suicidal speeds towards the port city. What was the payoff for them? Were they just idiots for punishment and humiliation? Gabriel really could not see it. But who gave a shit, he was not being paid as a shrink here. These days successful yakuza drove Bentleys and top of the line Mercedes Benz with smoked windows. One such car cost what a neo sapien in a blazer paid for a house over 40 years of indentured, corporate slavery. Gabriel could not quite figure these guys out. Not yet. But he would.
Majime, that was the word heard every day about guys like this. Hard working, diligent, steady going. So how come they had reneged on all of that social stability to follow this hood? I mean the guy was obviously a wild outlaw in this perfectly predictable culture of homogenous obedience. That, Gabriel was to discover, was the whole point. Maybe that was why he was here too..
Nijitora’s motor control was really quite astonishing. Well, considering the amount he had already drunk it was a fortunate twist of fate that Gabriel was still alive at all. He had said,
“ Yoshi, Ore Yokohama iku zo! ” Quite suddenly he had announced that they were all to follow him to Yokohama two or three hours previously. There, from the 45th floor of his luxury Ginza area apartment complex in the centre of Tokyo the city stretched its chaotic, ugly concrete face in every direction. This was his mission control. This was the place where he ran all those highly questionable operations from. Like being an Amazon.com number one selling writer? Yeah, after he had ordered all his staff to buy online to get that number one spot for just long enough to grab a printout!
Just pathetic. But hey, 21st century gangsters were no different from the rest. Everybody was up against the wall. Bullshit flies as a result. Gabriel was no better. He was selling Armageddon for Christ’s sake! So he was in no position to be hurling rocks-surrounded as he was by the glass windows of his own highly questionable past. This was to be about live and let live. But it would take a few more twists on this adrenaline rich trip to Yokohama to get to that…