It was a crowded station. Everybody trying to woo the passersby through the handouts they gave. This brought no attention to us since we were getting more than enough. Why think of dangers, calamities, and hell while dining in heaven. When the master is present, he should take care of the business. It’s only while he is gone that you should occupy yourself to fit his capacity.
Thirty minutes to the end of the work, just before I took my short break, the manager called for a three minutes meeting. Apparently one Person who supposedly worked at a nearby huge shopping mall had made a claim (in Japanese sense); that we are not doing it right working at the station. I don’t understand very well the protocols involved. But I got to pick a few points from the station manager. Though I work for a world-famous organisation, I actually don’t. I am contracted by some guys who are also contracted by the big organisation I boast I work for. Doesn’t really affect me much, but I wish I could develop a theory why such great organisations should be made to have a slow death. So the guys I convince everyday to sign up for ¥1,000 everyday get to pay me, my station director, my immediate contractor who draws my schedule, the contractor who has contracted my immediate contractor, the boss who contracts all the contractors, and (possibly finally) the guy who delivers the donation to the poor guys down there. Never imagined that ¥1,000 could do that much!! In any case, the possibility to be back to the same place hang in the balance due to the claim filed. My picture of the one filing the claim is a smartly dressed woman, who makes moves suggesting somebody running away when I pass the handout to her. I wish I could meet her, I could speak a thousand kind words to her. Because evil triumphs not over the light.
The darkness that has just knocked the door over the beautiful day ain’t over yet. A group of “well fed” Japanese men passes by. They have tanned skin, the black wannabes I guess. They get attracted by two things; my noisy Japanese colleague and the black guy passionately convincing the passerby. They are walking as a group. They suddenly stopped and I overheard them ask, “who are these?” a common question that I do encounter almost everyday, so I don’t worry much hearing that. We answer that question by passing over the leaflet, then initiating a conversation to trigger a donation. That’s our work. Hence we try the same strategy. These are no ordinary people. One fat guy walks towards the registration table. I can’t figure out what he is asking us to produce. But I do get the idea that he is questioning our legality to work at that station. My Japanese friend looks more confused than I. He can’t even recall where the road permit issued by police is. I pull it out and give it to the guy. He applies cunning tricks. “I am not talking about this…..” I smell a rat. My director is taking a break, I would rather have him fix the situation than allow the shaken poor front-liner explain who we are. I make a short call, and he comes in minutes. He is taken through details of what the “fat guys” do at the station. Ensuring that all people working there are safe. These are familiar words to me. But the last time I got to hear them used I was walking through Mathare slums in Nairobi. A government within a government.
For the first time in years, I feel unsafe in Japan. This is a country that I have respected for the regard to the rule of law. Where I can work fearlessly so long as I comply with the law. Am I about to experience the dark days of the life in the slums in Japan!? God forbid. But then I remember my village pastor and his loud-speaker saying, “when everybody sings, dances, and shouts to the tunes of Peace! Peace! Peace! there, suddenly, destruction shall appear.