A quick rant about the Tokyo candidates for the Diet


The good news about Japanese elections is that the campaign season is short. The bad news is that it is accompanied by vans and mega-phones spewing noise pollution everywhere.

And then there are the campaign signs. For local elections, at least you see different characters in different neighborhoods. These past weeks, these hideous Diet candidate posters have haunted me throughout Tokyo.

Starting at the top, how do white gloves obscuring your face express your character? Maybe she’s too clean to hold that dirty mike, or shake constituents’ dirty hands. Below this mom-focused candidate is in front of a corporate backdrop that makes me wonder if she’s selling home cleaners or personal hygiene products. Lastly, at the bottom is the pretty male actor with a smirk.

I wish they would all go to hell, or at least shut up and remove their faces from public places.

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JR sells Aomori dreams

JR is spreading the “moe” with its latest campaign to visit Aomori on its new bullet train (shinkansen) line. I love how they are reaching out to their feminine customers with an offer that their “first Aomori” can be a boy band star in a train uniform. Can he really be all of our “first Aomori”? Does he salute before or after the act? I think demand will be excessive.

Municipal election noise

Tokyo municipal election noise

This Sunday, July 12, is Tokyo’s municipal elections. While I guess I believe democracy is a good thing and Japanese campaigns are relatively short, I will be happy for the loudspeakers to be turned off. In Nakano, they always campaign near the Metro stations, either with a small mobile set-up, or in a large “bus boat” that has an open area in the back and even a roof area for more loud shouting.

This particular event was especially loud: first I heard the noise, then I saw six riot police buses, many cops on the street, black limousines, and then the bus boat. My consolation was enjoying all the super-serious SP (special police) officers with their ear phones, dorky cords, and stone-cold expressions.

Municipal election Special Police

And the curious sight of so many riot police vehicles. What trouble were they expecting, or was it just to show-off?

Municipal election Riot Police