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Local elections

Local elections are in progress as I write.

For those who may not be familiar with this curious phenomenon in Japan, polling for votes here largely consists of driving around the local area in white vans with enormous speakers mounted on top, blaring out at ear splitting volume (roughly translated) “This is the Democratic Party (or whatever), vote for Yoshida Taro! (or whoever). Yoshida Taro, your Democratic Party candidate! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!”. Young(ish) smiling women wearing white gloves wave frantically out of the windows, often, in these suburbs, to streets empty apart from the odd startled cat. Curiously the candidate is rarely in sight.

I’ve always found the total disregard for noise pollution in Japan more than a bit annoying, whether it’s the bgm soundtracks blasted out at scenic locations in the country and on beaches, or the cacophany of noise deafening shoppers at any electronics store in town. But it’s particularly aggrevating when potential politicians use the same methods to gain votes, our future law-makers. It just seems to say – hey, don’t expect any big changes if I get voted in.

Well, like it or not, this is the system. As a foreign passport holder I don’t have the vote here, despite 20 years in Japan. So nomatter how frantically they wave or bombard my ears I feel more affinity with the poor local cats.

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