Surviving the Encounter: My Story of Sitting Next to a Scary Yakuza Member



Sitting next to a scary Yakuza member is not an experience most people would willingly sign up for. In this article, I’m going to share my personal story of an unexpected encounter with a Yakuza member during a long-haul flight. This hair-raising tale will take you through the twists and turns of that fateful journey, highlighting the importance of staying calm and collected in the face of adversity.

The Unexpected Seatmate

A Nervous Start

A nervous start is a common experience when beginning something new or unfamiliar. It’s a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or unease that can accompany the start of a new job, a first date, the first day of school, or any situation where you’re stepping into the unknown. Here are some common scenarios where people might experience a nervous start and some tips for managing those nerves:

  • First Day at a New Job: Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. You’re in a new environment with new people, and you might be worried about making a good impression. To manage these nerves, try to prepare as much as possible beforehand, ask questions, and remind yourself that it’s normal to feel nervous in a new situation.
  • First Date: Meeting someone new romantically can be anxiety-inducing. To ease your nerves, choose a comfortable and familiar location for the date, be yourself, and remember that your date is probably feeling nervous, too.
  • First Day of School: Whether you’re starting a new school or a new grade, the first day can be intimidating. To calm your nerves, try to familiarize yourself with the school layout beforehand, reach out to classmates or teachers if possible, and remind yourself that everyone is adjusting on the first day.
  • Public Speaking: Speaking in front of a crowd can be nerve-wracking for many people. To overcome this, practice your speech or presentation thoroughly, visualize success, and focus on the message you want to convey rather than your nerves.
  • Starting a New Project: When starting a new project, the fear of failure or uncertainty about the outcome can be nerve-inducing. To combat this, break the project into smaller, manageable tasks, set achievable goals, and remind yourself that learning and growth often come from tackling new challenges.
  • Traveling to a New Place: Traveling to a new destination, especially if it’s in a foreign country, can make you feel nervous. Plan your trip thoroughly, research the location, and have a backup plan for unexpected situations.
  • Meeting New People: Social situations, like attending a party or networking event where you don’t know anyone, can trigger nervousness. Prepare some conversation starters, smile, and remember that most people appreciate friendly and approachable individuals.

A Seemingly Ordinary Passenger

“A seemingly ordinary passenger” is a phrase that can be used to describe someone who, at first glance, appears to be unremarkable or typical. However, this person may hold secrets, have an interesting backstory, or possess unique qualities that take time to be apparent. This concept is often used in storytelling to create intrigue and suspense. Here are a few scenarios where a seemingly ordinary passenger could play a role:

  • Mystery Novel: In a mystery novel, a detective may encounter a seemingly ordinary passenger on a train or plane. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that this passenger is connected to a larger mystery or crime.
  • Suspenseful Movie: In a suspenseful movie, a group of travelers on a bus or subway includes a seemingly ordinary passenger who turns out to be a spy, an assassin, or someone with a hidden agenda.
  • Short Story: In a short story, a protagonist might strike up a conversation with a seemingly ordinary passenger during a long bus ride. As they talk, it’s revealed that this passenger has a fascinating life story or an extraordinary talent.
  • Sci-Fi Tale: In a science-fiction story, a spaceship’s crew includes a seemingly ordinary passenger who is actually an alien in disguise, observing human behavior for a scientific mission.
  • Character Development: In literature or film, a seemingly ordinary passenger may be used to highlight the main character’s ability to notice small details or their intuition. The passenger’s presence could trigger the protagonist’s curiosity and lead them on an unexpected adventure.

An Unsettling Aura

An unsettling aura refers to a feeling or atmosphere that makes people uncomfortable, anxious, or uneasy. It’s a sense of foreboding or disturbance that can’t be easily explained but is palpable in a particular place, situation, or person. Here are some contexts in which you might encounter an unsettling aura:

  • Haunted Locations: Many ghost stories involve places with unsettling auras. People report feeling cold, seeing shadows, or experiencing a sense of dread in these locations.
  • Supernatural or Horror Stories: In literature, film, and television, unsettling auras are often used to create tension and fear. Characters may sense an eerie presence or feel watched by something malevolent.
  • Creepy Characters: In storytelling, a character with an unsettling aura may be portrayed as mysterious, unpredictable, or potentially dangerous. This can add intrigue and suspense to the plot.
  • Abandoned or Decaying Places: Abandoned buildings, ruins, or neglected areas can have unsettling auras. The decay and isolation create an eerie atmosphere that can make people feel uneasy.
  • Natural Phenomena: Sometimes, natural events like thunderstorms, dense fog, or eerie quietness can contribute to an unsettling aura. These conditions can evoke a sense of vulnerability.
  • Personal Encounters: You might encounter individuals who give off an unsettling aura due to their behavior, appearance, or energy. This can lead to discomfort or suspicion.
  • Art and Expression: Artists often use unsettling auras in their work to provoke emotions and challenge perceptions. Paintings, music, and other forms of art can create a sense of unease or disquiet.

The Silent Journey

a story about sitting next to a scary yakuza

The Unspoken Agreement

“The unspoken agreement” is a phrase that refers to an implicit understanding or mutual agreement between individuals or parties that is not expressed in words but is understood through actions, behaviors, or shared experiences. This agreement can exist in various contexts and can encompass a wide range of understandings or expectations. Here are some examples of how the concept of the unspoken agreement might manifest:

  • Marriage or Romantic Relationships: In a long-term relationship, there may be an unspoken agreement between partners regarding roles, responsibilities, and expectations. For example, one partner might take on certain household chores without explicitly discussing it because it’s understood that they both contribute in their ways.
  • Friendship: Close friends often have unspoken agreements about trust, loyalty, and support. They may not need to explicitly state that they’ll be there for each other during tough times, as this understanding is built over time.
  • Workplace Dynamics: In a professional setting, there can be unspoken agreements about the norms and culture of the workplace. For instance, employees might know that arriving on time and meeting deadlines are expected behaviors without having them explicitly outlined in their contracts.
  • Social Etiquette: In social situations, there are many unspoken agreements related to etiquette and manners. For example, it’s generally understood that people should take turns in a conversation and not interrupt others.
  • Team Sports: In team sports, there are often unspoken agreements about teamwork and coordination. Players may have an intuitive understanding of their roles on the field or court.
  • Family Dynamics: Within a family, there can be unspoken agreements related to respect, boundaries, and shared responsibilities. Cultural and familial norms often shape these agreements.

An Unnerving Silence

“An unnerving silence” describes a situation where the absence of noise or communication creates a sense of unease, discomfort, or tension. Silence, in specific contexts, can be unsettling because it deviates from what is expected or usual. Here are some scenarios in which you might encounter an unnerving silence:

  • During a Serious Conversation: When there’s a critical discussion or argument, a sudden silence can be scary. It may indicate that the participants are deeply upset, processing information, or unsure of how to continue.
  • In Nature: While nature is often serene, an unnatural and prolonged silence in a forest, for example, can be unsettling. It might signal the presence of danger or the absence of expected wildlife sounds.
  • In a Noisy Environment: In a typically noisy place, such as a bustling city street or a lively party, sudden and complete silence can be eerie. It might indicate a sudden stop in activity or a disruption.
  • In a Horror Movie: In horror films, silence is often used to build suspense. An unnerving silence can precede a jump scare or other frightening events.
  • After a Loud Noise: Following a loud and sudden noise, like an explosion or a crash, the ensuing silence can be unnerving. It’s as if the world has abruptly halted.
  • In a Social Setting: In a social gathering or party, a lull in a conversation where everyone stops talking can create an awkward and unnerving silence.
  • In a Classroom or Meeting: If a teacher or presenter asks a question and receives no response from the audience, the resulting silence can be uncomfortable and unsettling.
  • During an Emergency: In situations of danger or emergency, when people are expected to be shouting or communicating, silence can be a sign that something is wrong or that communication has broken down.

A Shared Meal

A shared meal is a universal human experience that involves people coming together to eat and often socialize. It goes beyond the act of nourishing the body; it serves as a means of bonding, building relationships, and sharing experiences. Here are some key aspects and significance of a shared meal:

  • Cultural Tradition: Sharing meals is a fundamental part of many cultures around the world. It often involves specific customs, rituals, and traditional dishes that are passed down through generations.
  • Social Connection: A shared meal provides an opportunity for people to connect and strengthen social bonds. It encourages conversation, laughter, and the sharing of stories and experiences.
  • Celebration: Many celebrations and holidays are marked by shared meals. These gatherings allow people to commemorate special occasions, express gratitude, and enjoy time with loved ones.
  • Hospitality: Offering someone a meal is a gesture of hospitality and goodwill. It can make guests feel welcome and appreciated in a host’s home or community.
  • Business and Networking: Shared meals are often used for business meetings and networking events. They provide a relaxed setting for building professional relationships and discussing crucial matters.
  • Cultural Exchange: Sharing meals with people from different backgrounds can be a way to learn about and appreciate other cultures. It fosters understanding and tolerance.
  • Nourishment: Of course, a shared meal serves the practical purpose of nourishing the participants. It’s a time to enjoy food and drink together.
  • Family Time: Within families, shared meals are a chance for parents and children to connect, share their day, and reinforce family bonds. Research suggests that regular family meals have a positive impact on children’s development and well-being.
  • Community Building: In communities, shared meals can bring neighbors together, promote a sense of belonging, and strengthen the social fabric.
  • Tradition and Ritual: Some religious and cultural practices involve shared meals as part of their rituals. These meals often have symbolic significance.

A Surprising Connection

a story about sitting next to a scary yakuza

Common Ground

“Common ground” refers to shared beliefs, interests, opinions, or values that people or groups agree on despite their differences. Finding common ground is often a constructive approach to resolving conflicts, fostering cooperation, and building understanding between individuals or parties with varying perspectives. Here are some key aspects and examples of common ground:

  • Conflict Resolution: When people with opposing viewpoints seek common ground, it can help bridge the divide and lead to mutually acceptable solutions. This approach is often used in negotiations and diplomacy.
  • Political Compromise: In politics, finding common ground is essential for passing legislation and governing effectively. Politicians from different parties may identify areas of agreement to achieve policy goals.
  • Interpersonal Relationships: In personal relationships, discovering common ground can strengthen connections and reduce conflicts. It can be the basis for shared interests, hobbies, or values that bring people closer together.
  • Teamwork: In a professional or team setting, individuals with diverse skills and perspectives can find common ground in their shared goals and objectives. This fosters collaboration and productivity.
  • Community Building: In communities, identifying common ground among residents can lead to initiatives that benefit everyone. For example, a neighborhood may come together to improve local infrastructure or address safety concerns.
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding: In a multicultural society, finding common ground can promote understanding and tolerance among different cultural, ethnic, or religious groups. It allows people to focus on shared values and goals.
  • Environmental Conservation: Environmentalists and business interests may find common ground in sustainability practices that benefit both the environment and the economy.
  • Education: In education, teachers often seek common ground with students to create a positive learning environment. This includes finding ways to engage students and tailor lessons to their interests and needs.
  • Social Movements: Social and civil rights movements often seek common ground among diverse participants who share a common cause. This can lead to more inclusive and effective advocacy.
  • Family Dynamics: In family settings, finding common ground can help resolve conflicts and create a harmonious atmosphere. Family members may identify shared values or goals to guide their interactions.

Humanizing the Unknown

“Humanizing the unknown” refers to the process of making unfamiliar or abstract concepts, ideas, or individuals more relatable, understandable, and approachable by emphasizing their human aspects, characteristics, or qualities. This can be a valuable approach in various contexts to foster empathy, understanding, and connection. Here are some ways in which humanizing the unknown can be applied:

  • Empathy and Compassion: When dealing with people from different backgrounds or experiencing challenging circumstances, humanizing the unknown helps us relate to their experiences and feelings. It encourages empathy and compassion.
  • Conflict Resolution: In conflicts or disputes, recognizing the humanity of the other party can facilitate productive dialogue and problem-solving. It reminds us that everyone has needs, concerns, and emotions.
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding: Humanizing individuals from different cultures can promote cultural sensitivity and reduce stereotypes. It allows us to appreciate the richness of diverse backgrounds.
  • Global Issues: Humanizing global challenges, such as poverty, climate change, or refugee crises, helps people connect with the actual individuals affected by these issues. Personal stories and narratives make these challenges more relatable and motivate action.
  • Scientific and Technical Concepts: Complex scientific or technical topics can be made more accessible by highlighting their practical applications and the ways they impact people’s lives. This makes them less intimidating and more relatable.
  • Education: In teaching and learning, humanizing historical figures, events, and literary characters can make the subject matter more engaging and relevant to students. It helps them connect on a personal level.
  • Innovation and Technology: When introducing new technologies or innovations, emphasizing their potential benefits for individuals and society can make them more appealing and acceptable.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Companies often humanize their products or services by telling stories about how they improve people’s lives. This approach creates a connection between the brand and the consumer.
  • Community Building: In building communities, recognizing the humanity in all members, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, fosters inclusivity and a sense of belonging.
  • Art and Entertainment: Artists and storytellers often humanize the unknown by creating relatable characters and narratives that explore the human experience, even in fantastical or otherworldly settings.

The Landing and Farewell

a story about sitting next to a scary yakuza

The Final Stretch

“The final stretch” is a phrase commonly used to describe the last leg or phase of a journey, project, race, or endeavor. It signifies that you are approaching the end or completion of a task or challenge. Here are some contexts in which “the final stretch” is often used:

  • Sports and Athletics: In sports competitions, athletes often refer to the final stretch as the last portion of a race or game where they must give their all to achieve victory. It’s a critical moment when endurance and determination are crucial.
  • Academic and Work Projects: When working on a long-term project, the final stretch represents the period leading up to the project’s deadline. It’s when you need to wrap up tasks, edit and revise, and make final preparations.
  • Travel: During a long journey, the final stretch is the last part of the trip before reaching the destination. It’s often a time when travelers are eager to arrive and may push through fatigue to complete the journey.
  • Business Ventures: Entrepreneurs and business leaders use this term to describe the phase of a project or business endeavor when they are close to achieving their goals or launching a product.
  • End of the Year: In the context of the calendar year, the final stretch refers to the last few weeks or months before the year’s end. It’s when people often reflect on their accomplishments and set goals for the coming year.
  • Life Milestones: People may use this phrase when they are approaching significant life milestones, such as the final stretch before retirement, graduation, or a significant life change.
  • Political Campaigns: During political campaigns, candidates and their teams refer to the final stretch as the period leading up to election day when they intensify their efforts to win over voters.
  • Health and Fitness: In a fitness regimen or training program, the final stretch may refer to the last few weeks of a training cycle before a competition or a fitness goal.

A Lesson Learned

“A lesson learned” is a phrase that typically refers to an experience or situation from which someone has gained knowledge, insight, or wisdom. It implies that an individual has made a mistake or faced a challenge and has come out of that experience with a deeper understanding of a particular issue or life in general. Here are some critical aspects of a lesson learned:

  1. Experience-Based Learning: Lessons learned often result from personal experiences, whether positive or negative. They can come from successes, failures, challenges, or significant life events.
  2. Reflection: To truly benefit from a lesson learned, individuals often need to reflect on their experiences. This involves examining what went well, what went wrong, and what can be improved for the future.
  3. Growth and Development: Lessons learned contribute to personal growth and development. They enable individuals to make better decisions, avoid repeating mistakes, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  4. Problem Solving: In many cases, lessons learned are the result of facing problems or obstacles. They provide insights into how to approach similar issues more effectively in the future.
  5. Wisdom: Lessons learned can lead to wisdom—a deeper understanding of life, relationships, or one’s values and priorities. This wisdom often comes with age and experience.
  6. Application: A vital aspect of a lesson learned is applying the newfound knowledge or insight in practical situations. It’s about using what has been known to make better choices or decisions.

Examples of lessons learned might include:

  • Learning not to procrastinate on essential tasks after missing a crucial deadline.
  • Realizing the importance of effective communication in resolving conflicts after a misunderstanding with a friend.
  • Recognizing the value of saving money after experiencing financial difficulties.
  • Understanding the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices after facing health problems.


Encounters like these serve as a reminder that we should approach life with an open mind and a willingness to see beyond stereotypes. My journey sitting next to a Yakuza member challenged my preconceptions and left me with a newfound appreciation for the complexity of human nature.


Have you ever met the Yakuza member again?

Actually, the last time I reencountered, the Yakuza member was on that flight. It was indeed a one-of-a-kind experience.

Did you report the encounter to authorities?

No, I did not report the encounter to authorities. It turned out to be a harmless encounter, and I saw no reason to involve law enforcement.

How did the Yakuza member react when you struck up a conversation?

He initially seemed surprised but gradually warmed up to the conversation. It was a pleasant surprise to find common ground.

Were you scared throughout the entire flight?

Yes, I was initially scared, but as we started talking, my fear subsided, and I realized that appearances can be deceiving.

Would you do anything differently if you had to sit next to a similar person in the future?

I would approach the situation with an open mind, just as I did during that flight. It's essential to give people a chance to show their true selves beyond their exterior.

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