So there I was, standing in front of the train station exit, trying to force the pocket zipper of my gym pants open. Normally I don't wear my gym clothes to the gym, but today I had been thinking it might save time to do so. I put down my gym bag and tackled the broken zipper with both hands, still no luck. Of course my train pass was inside my pocket and now I was stuck inside the train station, terrific. Asking the guy at the ticket window for help in my broken Japanese would surely only serve to make a ridiculous situation look worse, so I pulled harder, nothing. However I was to receive help from an unexpected source, the police. I had only been wrestling with the zipper for about 3 minutes when I was suddenly surrounded by three sinister-looking, undercover policemen. The lead guy, dressed like a businessman, flashed me his badge, an insincere smile and asked me what the problem was. Explaining what the heck I was doing took a bit of time, but when I managed to do so they looked at each other as if to say, ‘yeah right, nice story'. Another guy, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, lent me his ballpoint pen and I managed to get the zipper unstuck and my train pass out, proving that I wasn't a nutcase. I wasn't free yet though, first they interrogated me for about five minutes about what I was doing in Japan, and not until I had shown them my foreigner identification card was I free to go. In retrospect I guess I might have looked kind of weird, no shower, unshaven, wearing my dress shoes with my gym clothes, yanking my pants around…. Anyway it did make me feel somewhat better that the police are keeping an eye out around the busy train stations these days, good work guys. A warning to those of you who didn't come through the front door when entering Japan, don't loiter around the train stations....
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