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NYPD Blue and Japan's Red Rising Sun

First, let me give you a funny story about my experience blogging about Annemarie Dooling, the young lady who Tweeted during a bank robbery yesterday in Manhattan. After reading her account of what happened on Twitter, I wanted to confirm there had actually been a bank robbery. The web folks wanted to make sure we weren't being punked.

I've covered local news for over 25 years, mostly in Los Angeles. When you call LAPD Media Relations with a question about a bank robbery, you usually talk to a uniformed officer who answers with a stern, "LAPD media relations, Officer John Doe". Questions are answered in a professional, friendly manner. It's like calling the Army.

New York City Skyline
AP
New York City Skyline

Yesterday I made my first call to the NYPD.

I wanted to confirm there had, in fact, been a bank robbery at the HSBC branch at 34th and 8th.

I told the man who answered the phone who I was and why I was calling.

He did not say his name but asked, "Why do you want to know?"

I paused. When was the last time a police officer asked me why I was calling about an alleged crime? Uh, never.

I explained, "Well, a woman was tweeting during the whole robbery, and I want to make sure it's real." "Ah," he replied with a chuckle, "that's your angle. Twitter. Ok."

He put me on hold for two minutes, then came back on and said, "Yeah, looks like we had a robbery there."

I had to stop myself from asking for Captain Barney Miller or Det. Wojciehowicz.

Only in New York...

I won't be blogging 'til Friday. My teenage son is returning from three months as an exchange in Japan. Jack left a 16-year-old kid with a love of sushi and a fearless desire to see the world. He returns a 17-year-old with a new appreciation of what other cultures are like, and what it means to be an American.

I'm so grateful to the Nojiri family who took in our brash American teenage boy and made him one of the family. I'm grateful to the school, friends, and program liaisons who made him feel at home, even though few of them spoke English, and Jack's Japanese isn't quite what he thought it was. Jack is a funny kid, and those of you who have funny kids know what I mean. Here's a boy who held a video camera in one hand, pulled out his last baby tooth with the other, and posted the whole thing on YouTube three years ago (search "Jack pulls tooth", except don't watch if the sight of blood bothers you. Seriously.) Funny kids concern you, worry you, and then suddenly they turn around and surprise you by being absolutely amazing.

So let's raise a glass of sake to what makes us the same, and to what makes us different, from the Land of the Rising Sun, to the Home of the Brave.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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