According to the Japan Times, police arrested a professional tennis player and his actress girlfriend for possession of marijuana. The investigators found the weed at the girlfriend's place, and she told them it was for her and her boyfriend to smoke together. Kind of sounds romantic: the couple that burns one down together stays together. And the story segues into information about Keio University students getting busted for pot, too.
What the devil's going on here? A pot pandemic?
It's funny to me that back home, a college student pot bust would barely make the local papers in the town where it occurred. In the U.S., it's almost a given that our college students are high on pot at any given hour of the day or night. Either stoned or stinking drunk. But here this is national news. Not huge national news, but national nonetheless. Keio is going to be Bong University in a lot of people's minds from now on.
The age-old alcohol versus marijuana debate continues. In Japan, it's fairly common to see old dudes drinking beer on the trains... at 9am. And I've seen some people just absolutely blotto hanging off each other and talking nonsense; even though it was in Japanese and I could barely understand it I could tell it was booze gibberish. Last year while waiting to do karaoke, we watched as a group of friends found a large garbage bag for their partied-out buddy (slumped on the sidewalk) to get sick in. Amusing, but kind of tender and touching in a way. After-work parties, late dinner at the izakaya with friends, sitting around at home getting quietly smashed. Bounenkai season is coming up and that means a full December calendar of year-end booze blitzing-- Japan is a drinking nation.
But I don't see the big street brawls around here we used to see regularly down among the frat bars in Athens. It probably happens, I just haven't seen it. Whereas back home on a beer-soaked weekend night a friend and I took a stroll through the middle of an alcohol-induced riot complete with police canine units on the streets and shirtless guys leaping barricades. Our little corner of town was fairly safe, but punch ups were a Thursday-through-Saturday night constant a few blocks over.
Personally, I'd prefer it if more people smoked pot than drank alcohol. We'd probably still have weird crime, but it'd be a lot more mellow. And pizza delivery restaurants would do some bang-up business and perhaps revive our moribund economies.