Wednesday, 12 December 2012

KILLING TIME -- Japanese Election Diary 2012: Day 26

Click here to go to Day 1 of the 2012 Japan Election Diary.


At this time of year the Japanese go a little crazy. The already obsessive (by Our Man's standards) cleaning routines go into overdrive and every surface inside and out of the house, every square centimetre of bug screen has to be doused in detergent, bleach or sandblasted to within a millimetre of its internal integrity. It's no doubt tied in to ancient rituals of purity and cleanliness.
In Our Man's household, this means it's time for nude bathroom cleaning.
"Do I have to do it in the nude?"
"It's the best way. Remember my favourite cat T-shirt?"
"Errr..."
"You don't because I haven't worn it for a while because the last time I cleaned the bathroom the mold-killer spray ruined it."
"Won't the spray ruin me, if I'm in the nude?"
"Don't be silly."
"I'm the one being silly?"
"The secret is to have a hot shower first, then you won't be cold when you open the bathroom window and door. And you won't ruin your clothing if you are naked."
"But..."
"You can wear a flu mask if it makes you feel better."
I wonder if Abe cleans the mold out of his bathroom in the nude? Does he wear a mask?
Granted, it's not a pleasant image, but after an hour of spraying and scraping mold in the nude before work this morning, the mold-killer vapours were getting to me. From this, I concluded that I must be made up of largely the same stuff as mold, and the same must surely be true of Japan's politicians.
Between taking the vapours and warming my feet in the shower stream, I had another thought. (This, by the way, is not unusual as I do all my best thinking in the shower. Whether it's the blast of hot water or the sterile environment free of distractions, I have no idea, but there you are, it works for me.) I thought more about the press writing all about the foreign policy differences of the candidates and how Abe is a hawk and, I suppose, Ishihara is a buzzard, it kind of made sense: Keep everyone looking out the window, worrying about what the neighbours are up to and maybe no-one will notice the mold in the bathroom. If voters were given a chance to reflect on the mess 50 years of Liberal Democratic Party politics had left, the legacy of corruption that had allowed Fukushima to happen, they'd perhaps give the tenants of the Lower House a bit more time to clean up. But of course in Japan, all housecleaning has to be completed before the end of the year.

***

Michael Cucek has correlated some interesting numbers on the last opinion polls before the only ones that count in four days, and Our Man has taken the liberty to cut and paste the ones that made sense to him:
This blog series
 is now a great
 book. Honest.
Cleaned up and
 all presentable,
Guts Pose: Diary of a
 Japanese election
 gone bad
features a previously
unpublished afterword
 by me and foreword
by Michael Cucek.
You can buy it here.

Democratic Party of Japan 14%
Liberal Democratic Party 22%
Nippon Ishin no kai 8%
Your Party 2%
Japanese Communist Party 4%
New Komeito 5%
Tomorrow Party 2%
Other parties 3%
Don't know/don't care 40%

"What is the issue you think most important?" from the latest NHK poll (December 7-9):

Economic measures 33%
Social welfare and pension reform 22%
Energy policy (including nuclear) 11%
Administrative reform 9%
Recovery from the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami 8%
Foreign policy 6%

Ordinarily Our Man doesn't believe in opinion polls, but if he suspends his instinctive distrust of experts' numbers, he can draw the following conclusions: The DPJ is unpopular, but so is everybody else. Sabre rattling with China, South Korea and even North Korea is always going to be on the lunatic fringes. Folk want to get their own house in order.

Conclusion? Japanese aren't nearly as crazy as their leaders.

***

"I've decided who I'm going to vote for."
"Well done, you've achieved the impossible."
"I just eliminated the people in order of who I can't vote for."
"OK, but that might not leave anybody. So who can't you vote for?"
"The Communists, I mean, that's just silly these days. And the Minna party. I can't vote for someone who has only been a professional bowler."
"What about the Mirai Tomorrow People, er Himei -- The Princess?"
"I don't know anything about them. I saw her name in hiragana and thought it was "scream" like that painting.
"Abe?"
"I don't understand how anyone can vote for the LDP. I mean, has everyone forgotten how they stopped the government from doing anything about Fukushima?"
"Guess so."
"I like Noda. He's not the son of a politician and he's from Chiba. He picked up the government and kept everything going when no-one else would."
"So you're voting DPJ?"
"They are anti-nuclear?"
"Pretty much."
"Then probably. I think I need to do some research on the internet on the Abiko candidates."
"Good decision, dear."

Go to DAY 27

3 comments:

Jan Moren said...

Yep. My wife told me to keep my clothes off when cleaning the bathroom. Didn't, ruined a good t-shirt and nowadays I follow her advice.

Which reminds me, it's probably time again this weekend...

Our Man in Abiko said...

This kind of knowledge comes later in married life. Carry on.

Craig Scanlan said...

I'd vote for All Tomorrow's Parties, by the Velvet Underground.