baskets

Pokemon says no

Pokemon says no

Pokemon says “no” to bottle of booze, green tea, congratulatory and funeral flowers, school children’s backpacks, incense, expensive fruit baskets, and gifts of rice. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry seeing this government poster. Is it patronizing, funny or just ridiculous?

Given widespread corruption, not so different in Japan as in the United States– including dead people voting, illegal corporate contributions and staggering levels of distrust– do citizens need a children’s cartoon to tell them about the dangers and illegality of accepting small gifts from politicians?

Are small gifts the reason why Japanese politics are so dismal?

End of year purity

Kadomatsu at Nakano Pachinko parlor

Over the past days, small and large displays of bamboo, pine, basket, konbu and baskets have appeared on residential doors and in front of businesses. It’s called kadomatsu.

They symbolize longevity and the purity with which one prepares to bring in the new year. Some of the most elaborate ones are in front of the pachinko parlors and love hotels. Ours will be humbler.