The story of that time I was beaten up, subject to an attempted robbery and fought off 5 Nigerian gangsters in Tokyo.
I will start this blog post by stating that the people of Japan are overwhelmingly nice, generous and welcoming. Unfortunately in any place in the world there are some bad people of which the Nigerian gangsters we encountered in Tokyo were of the latter variety.
The first full day of our boys trip to Japan had involved a day checking out temples, parks & the zoo which was followed by a visit to Tokyo’s number 1 attraction on trip advisor, the Robot restaurant, in the entertainment district of Kabukicho.
Fight preparation at Robot restaurant
After the amazing show it was around 8pm and too early to head back to the hotel so we went for a drink in a bar nearby the restaurant. This place was pretty seedy and we were immediately approached by women we could safely assume were prostitutes. The place wasn’t dangerous, however, and we finished our drinks without issue after a quick competition on who could do the most spins on the stripper pole with the bar manager.
We were looking for a glam rock themed bar called Bar Zin and an American called Scott we met in a 711 offered to help. With no street names being used in Tokyo we became lost and Ray & I were busting to use a toilet. A bar manager who Scott spoke to in Japanese told us his bar would give us a free drink and let us use their toilet & that we could leave freely if we didn’t like it.
The bar was located in a basement and after exiting the toilets a Nigerian prostitute who looked like a heroine addict approached us. The place was deserted with the exception of large number of big, scary Nigerian men (maybe around 15) who had their eyes on us.
Likeness of the Nigerian gangster who got knocked out.
It clearly didn’t feel safe and all my instincts told me we needed to get out of their straight away. I told the boys we were leaving but we were stopped by a security guy who told us we had to pay 5000 yen each or 15000 total (approx. $150AUD).
My suspicion was that they wanted access to our wallets to steal all our money & valuables, not just the 15,000 yen. On me I had cash, credit cards, an iPhone, camera and the boys also had their passports.
I attempted to push past the man blocking our path to what I thought was the exit when he aggressively grabbed me by the arm and tried to grab my wallet from my pocket. With very real danger, numerous other gangsters throughout the bar & only this guy blocking our path I swung a right hook punch at him, knocking him unconscious and clearing the way.
Absolute chaos ensued when it turned out that there was no exit behind the man with the bar layout a maze like a rabbit warren. Another guy grabbed Ray’s phone from his pocket while I tried to find a way out pursued by four of the security. Four of the strong, imposing Nigerians cornered and attacked me, punching, scratching and tearing at my body & clothing to extract anything of value I was carrying. They were then joined by the man I had punched who had regained consciousness and time slowed down as I locked eyes with him as he came at me with bad intentions in mind.
Throughout the attack I was striking out with punches, kicks and bites to defend myself and they were unable to get my valuables from the front pockets of my pants. Suddenly Ben appeared behind the group of guys and I was then able to escape their pack. Ray had retrieved his phone, with $20 Australian taken from his wallet and we made it into an elevator and closed the doors behind us for a moment of respite.
More a lover than a fighter
Not knowing which floor of the building was safe, if any, I was prepared to be attacked again or make a run for it when the doors opened. As we arrived to the 4th floor we happened upon a man having his hair styled in a hairdressing salon. With my clothes largely ripped and blood trickling from my mouth we would have been quite a sight bursting into the hair salon. The hairdresser told us which floor to safely exit the building and once outside we ran from the scene, towards the train station to return to the hotel.
While I had been punched to the head multiple times I wasn’t hurt badly with the consequences for me a sore ear, cuts to the inside of my mouth, bruises where I had been grabbed and some scratches to my back. The damage to my clothing is shown in the photo above. Ray was unhurt and Ben had a few scratches, his shirt & bag ripped but nothing too bad. It was however a traumatic experience we were lucky to come away from with no serious injuries and in possession of our valuables.
Once we found ourselves in the bar I believe things could’ve got worse had I not fought to get us out. The gangsters had no intention of letting us go freely and we were in real danger. It’s amazing what you are capable of doing when your survival instincts kick in.
Given we didn’t know the area the safer option would’ve been to head straight back to the hotel after the robot restaurant, but no good story started with going home to bed early or spending your time in a foreign country in your hotel room.
You can listen to the story on the Asiamania podcast (link below).