Last week was Golden Week, a bundle of national holidays all packed in the same week: Constitution day, Green day, Children’s day and the new Showa day. This last one is in honor of the previous emperor’s birthday and is a big hit among Japan’s extremist population, which I like to call the Black Suits.
I was a bit disappointed, the shrine itself is a lot smaller than I thought and there were no black vans to be seen, nor threatening crowds. However, while waiting for a friend to arrive in front of the entrance, I finally spotted a group of a dozen black suits with their token buddhist bracelets. Two of the elder ones split up and came straight at me and my friend:
Old black suit: Do you speak english? Do you speak english? (with a more or less threatening tone)
Me: Yes I speak english, 日本語でも
Old black suit: 本当？？ (with a smile on his face)
They got much friendlier when I replied to them in japanese. They asked us why we came to 靖国神社 and I replied that it was very famous, hearing about it all the time on the news, so we wanted to see for ourselves. I didn’t bring up the fact that we came just to see people like him though… They said “Have fun!” and left.