One afternoon in November 2021, I was riding my bicycle past Hachioji Station in Tokyo’s western suburbs when a police officer stood in front of my path and signaled me to stop.

The residual trauma of being a Black American hit me, and I felt a tinge of fear and indignation, which really serves no purpose in Japan, these are not American cops, after all.

The officer told me he wanted to check my bike registration. I asked why. He said he had to make sure I hadn’t stolen the bike. I told him he didn’t have to, it was definitely my bike. He smiled and said he was sorry to detain me, but he just needed to make sure. You see, some bikes had been stolen recently so he had to check. It was routine. He apologized again.