Sunday, December 23, 2012

hello folks! Well, I am counting down the hours now to my next plane flight from Tokyo to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. Then there's 3 days in Batam Island, which should provide plenty to blog about, and then Singapore followed by eight days in Sri Lanka, very excited about that! Stay tuned to this blogs for news, views and pics!
Winter has really been setting in. I write from Yokohama, with maximums around 8-10 degrees. As an Australian I never thought I could consider such temperatures warm, but compared to the last few weeks, they certainly are!
Ichinoseki saw a bit of snow. Last Thursday I had to drive to Sumita, a small town, for training. The road was covered in snow in some places and the return was treacherous too, with many downhill hair-pin bends to negotiate. But I survived in my Kei-car - that's a type of small car I drive and many others in my English-teaching position do too.

Last Sunday, the 16th, saw the general election here. I took my wife to vote late in the day. It was a very quiet polling booth indeed. The general turnout has been reasonable and one of the highest I believe at around 59%, however I was being told it was something like 25%. I think now that must have been an estimate on the turnout in Iwate. Certainly at around 3pm there were no more than a dozen people going to vote at the booth we went to. 

The result saw the ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (who are the conservatives here) won with an increased majority. They are quite nationalistic, especially over some islands that are disputed with China, and pro-nuclear power which has left a few people here a little mystified. I was told there was a real chance for change before this election, and so not knowing much about Japanese politics I was a little surprised. It's been a year for elections! Georgia, USA, Egypt all with vital votes on their future.

That's the state of play here. In Ichinoseki the person who won had something like 6000-7000 votes, which demonstrates a very poor voter turn out for the city. I had a page with the results but can't find it now. The winner I believe was from the LDP. He is highlighted in red. With the exception of the woman running, all the candidates looked very similar to me. All employed the technique of cars with loud speakers driving around town shouting out some sort of message through loud speakers. Very unwelcome in my opinion! It's fair to say that Japan is very big of older men in glasses and suits, and not just in politics!
See you soon, from another country!

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