Violence, Jail Time & Departure

Read this. It’s short and it’s not about me.


Back in Shizuoka, I knew this guy named Fury. He hung out with a lot of the Shizuoka gaijin, and I occasionally encountered him when I was out with Grimm. I never saw him anywhere near the realm of sober, and although I really did try not to dislike him, he never displayed a single redeeming quality in my presence.


So I didn’t really know how to react when I heard from Grimm that he’d left the country after spending three months in jail. I hadn’t wanted to get rid of the guy. I just hadn’t wanted anything to do with him. And yet his departure just seemed… inevitable.


According to Grimm, it all started when Fury and one of his friends decided to pick on some Japanese guy at a small club in Shizuoka. They roughed the guy up a bit, and the next week the guy’s buddy, a Yakuza, decided to settle the score when he spotted Fury and his Japanese girlfriend, X-chan, back at the same club. The Yakuza tried to pull some intimidation by shoving X-chan, and Fury went ballistic and pretty much beat the guy to a pulp.


Fury got arrested, and they held him in jail for three months, which I’m told they can do without charge or trail in this country. Grimm went to visit him once; he said they were only allowed to communicate in Japanese so the guards could understand them. He could also only receive reading material in Japanese, and although Grimm adhered to the rules, the old lady inspecting all incoming materials declared Grimm’s formidable pile of Japanese porn soundly inadmissible.


X-chan visited Fury every day, and at the end of the three months she paid his 700,000-yen bail (That’s $8000, by the way).


Before he even went to jail, Fury had apparently lost his job because he’d been coming into work drunk on a regular basis, and by the time he got out of the slammer, his landlord had booted him out of his apartment. So he had no job, no place to live, and he was in trouble with both the police and the Yakuza. He didn’t have much choice but to go home. I’m not sure if formal charges were ever pressed.


The more interesting story, however, is what happened during the week or so Fury spent trying to sell off some of his stuff before he left. There was a party at a second-floor bar in Shizuoka, and many of the local gaijin crowd were there, including Fury and X-chan. Another key figure was a guy named Guile, whom I’ve never met, but Grimm says that while he’s a nice guy, you don’t want to mess with him.


X-chan had just paid the 700,000 yen to get Fury out of jail, but he decided to go after Guile’s girlfriend, and Guile told him in as many words to fuck off. So Fury backed off and danced with some other girl instead while everyone else tried to comfort X-chan, who was a disconsolate ball of tears.


A while later, Grimm heard a big sound and saw people on the street running for the door of the bar. He headed out to the stairs and found Guile standing at the top with Fury lying at the bottom in a pool of his own blood.


Nobody saw what happened, but as Guile told it, Fury had put his arm around him and tried to be friendly and pretend he’d only been kidding around with his girlfriend earlier, and Guile had succinctly indicated that he didn’t buy it and wanted nothing to do with the guy.


Then he pushed him away.


Guile figured a sober person would have stopped himself at the top of the stairs, but everyone was pretty drunk that night, so Fury tumbled straight down to the bottom and put a huge gash in his head on the way down.


Fury got up and started walking around downtown Shizuoka gushing blood from his head and yelling for Guile to come out so he could beat the life out of him. Everyone came outside, and people tried in turn to defuse the situation.


When an ambulance came, people tried to convince Fury to get in, but he wouldn’t go. Everyone who got close to him got covered in blood. The police showed up and they finally managed to get him into the ambulance, but he was still fighting like a maniac.


Gates, a computer programmer who’s spent time in the US army and probably the most stable guy I’ve met in Japan, rode along in the ambulance. They gave Fury some stitches and let him out the same night. When they were leaving, Gates says he could see the paramedics still cleaning the blood out of the inside of the ambulance.


Fury called Grimm to apologize the next day, as he always does.


Grimm says he’s met Fury sober, once. Says he’s a really nice guy.


People you meet.


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September 2002