La La Radio

19 01 2009

Cafe So What, Kyoto, 1/19/2009

I’m slowly settling into my grove over here in Kyoto, and increasingly wonder how I ever got by with things like silverware, and bulk food, and centralized heating. This week was a relatively slow paced one, as I mainly stocked up on food and supplies for the weeks ahead, and bought a few books while I was at it to pass the time. The weather is finally improving to the point where I don’t wake up in the middle of the night freezing and have to do pushups until I can feel my extremities again.

Japan is, in theory, a democracy, though since one party, the Liberal Democratic Party (which isn’t all that liberal, actually) has held power for almost five decades, its membership is in danger of being revoked. In the most recent elections, however, their were some shakeups, and the LDP took some major blows to its power structure. The current instability of the country political status quo is best displayed in the revolving door policy towards prime ministers, which has gone through three prime ministers (after the long stay of Junichirou Koizumi) in as many years. Currently, the prime minister is Taro Aso, perhaps best known for having a bit of an otaku side (a sort of Japanese nerd, thought perhaps more extreme) in that he’s been spotted with several popular manga in the halls of the Japanese Parliament. Unfortunately for fans of Japanese pop culture, however, he’s run into several spots of trouble himself. The attitude of the Japanese people, especially in these troubled economic times, is drifting towards the uniformly negative.

Of course, with democracy comes political ads. Here’s a small sampling of the ones I’ve seen in Kyoto alone.

An ad for the New Komeito party, or "New Clean Government Party". The slogan is something like "The New Komeito Party will protect your way of life."

An ad for the New Komeito party, or "New Clean Government Party". The slogan is something like "The New Komeito Party will protect your way of life."


Maehara Somebody. This is a good example of why you should take the time to steady your hand at least a little bit when taking photos.

Maehara Somebody. This is a good example of why you should take the time to steady your hand at least a little bit when taking photos.


These two are actually members of the Japanese Communist Party.

These two are actually members of the Japanese Communist Party.


A LDP candidate, whose slogan is something like "Business first." By the way, sorry for the poor quality of these photos- I need to pay more attention.

A LDP candidate, whose slogan is something like "Business first." By the way, sorry for the poor quality of these photos- I need to pay more attention.

To finish, here’s an animal statue with huge testicles.

These tanuki, or raccoon dog (not just raccoon) statues are common throughout Japan, especially in front of stores. Their most obvious features are the large belly and even larger testicles, which are sometimes excised from modern versions.

These tanuki, or raccoon dog (not just raccoon) statues are common throughout Japan, especially in front of stores. Their most obvious features are the large belly and equally large testicles, which are sometimes excised from modern versions.

Music I’m Listening to Now: Neko Case, “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

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