Resting my eyes from typing, I look from the 10th storey window onto Midosuji Avenue. I hear a booming racket, and, sure enough, a nationalist van is coming down the street. They’ve gotten smaller lately – this is a shiny black SUV with 6 speakers on the roof (the big riot vans are now saved for national holidays, I guess). The noise is loud and clear, though. Just in front of the Kabuki Theatre (Shin-Kabuki-Za), the van pulled over. An unmarked black car pulled up behind it. Were they undercover cops, telling them to stop disturbing what little peace there is in Namba? Fining the driver for not wearing a seatbelt? In your dreams. The four men who got out of the car were tall, stocky, with slicked-back hair, all dressed in black slacks and long-sleeved, open-necked white shirts. They were his minders. The driver of the SUV turned off the speakers and rolled down his window. They spoke, then the SUV driver got out. They stretched, chatted. The driver of the SUV was much older and smaller than the others, probably in his early 60s. He wore typical old-guy clothes: grey slacks, golf shirt, windbreaker and a porkpie hat. He gestured while he talked the way older Osaka men do when they’re emphasizing the bloody obvious.He ambled off, presumably to Lawson (he was out of my line of sight), and presently came back with some soda or tea for the others.
Then, from out of the car, two little girls got out. Not shy at all with the others, they sat patiently while the old guy, who I can only assume was their grandfather, went back and bought them some popsicles. They sat by the shrubs along the street, happily slurping their treats while the older man and the hard men continued their conversation, pointing and gesturing all the while. I realized that they were discussing the route they would be taking. A young woman also got out of the van, presumably the mother of the two little girls and the daughter of the driver. Familiar with the others, she chatted with the men, who deferred to her somewhat. She didn’t defer to anybody.
Eventually, the family got back into the SUV, one of the minders jumping into the passenger side up front, while the rest of the men in black got back into the unmarked car. They turned in to the side street, which runs along the Kabuki-za, and drove south, spouting nationalist and anti-Chinese slogans as they went.
The little girls, presumably, will tell all their friends what a fun ride they took with their granddad today.