Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stay Sharp

No matter what country you decide to visit, you should do your best to familiarize yourself with the native laws and customs. It seems obvious enough, but many people (myself probably included) are guilty of slacking when it comes to this important travel safety tip. Granted, though - laziness aside, it can be a difficult thing to prepare for. What are you going to do, seek out a legal codex for said country and search for laws you might violate? No, but it's also not unreasonable to consider certain objects and substances. I'd be careful about anything weapon-related -- guns, knives, bats, battle axes; chemicals; drugs -- be they medicinal or otherwise; etc. Chances are an old Columbian gentleman ignorantly bringing his "medicinal" marijuana into the US is not going to get through customs.

Likewise, be careful what you bring to Japan. This Japan Times submission recounts the story of an old man who surrendered his pocket knife to a police officer and was promptly tossed into the big house (or small house, since everything is miniaturized in Japan). This isn't the first time I've heard this kind of horror story. Honestly the guy probably just always carries around this pocket knife and it never even occurred to him that some countries don't allow them. They're useful tools, and kind of ingrained in American culture (yeah, we do love us some weapons). Looking at this story, the arresting cops do seem like major $%@*heads. If things went down the way this article presents, they saw a foreign tourist, decided to bait him, and got themselves a legal arrest. Yay for them. If he had lied, he probably would have gotten away with it. The lesson here, clearly, is never tell the truth. Ever.

But seriously, think twice about what you're bringing with you when you go abroad. For example, some cold medicines are not allowed in Japan because when broken down into their components they can be used to make meth. They're serious about drugs and weapons here.

Besides, if you're gonna bring a knife, do it right.

This isn't a knife.

This is a knife.

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