Day: Last updated Aug 1, 2017

Samba in the Rain

These photos are from the famous Asakusa Samba Carnival. It’s been happening every year since 1981 when the mayor of Taito Ward invited the winning dance team from Brazil’s Samba Carnival to Japan. The weather for yesterday’s event was beautiful until about 3 pm when it suddenly started to pour. A lot of the spectators quickly headed for home, but the dancers seemed to love it. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new...

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The Election Truck

For a country that invented rock gardens, personal stereos, and tea ceremonies, Japan sure can be noisy sometimes. Walk down pretty much any street here and you’re going to face a sonic assault by everything from sweet potato vendors to crosswalk songs to right-wing extremists. With all the noise pollution in this country, you might think the politicians would want to do something about it, but that’s not going to happen any time soon because they are some of the worst offenders in the whole country. Come election time, every political wanna’ be rents a truck and the biggest speakers he or she can find, and starts cruising the streets. Senkyo-sha (election vehicles) are all about name recognition. In Japan, ballots do not have the candidates’ names written on them, so voters are required to write down the name of the person they want to vote for from memory. Plastering the car with the person’s name and repeating it over and over really does get extra votes. A lot of people wonder why on earth politicians choose to drive around all day in sound trucks instead of campaigning door to door or putting up posters. As is so often the case in Japan, there is a semi-logical rason/pat answer for this. Before 1945, vote-buying and influence peddling were a huge problem in elections. Often, an important businessman or landlord...

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