08/31/2009

The People have Spoken!

And the Winner is.....

The Citizens of Japan.

No, that was no earthquake felt over here last night but it was a seismic shift of historic proportions in the political geography of Japan as dissatisfied Voters turned out in record numbers, 69% of the voting populace, to let the long standing ruling Party (the LDP in power since '55) get a taste of their frustration as they hammered away at the ballot boxes, pounding out their crystal clear message and fellow foreigners let me assure you they did not pull any punches!

I personally visited a polling place and my head was spinning as I tried to keep track of everyone filing in and out but it was damn easy to keep track of the smiles because there weren't many on display.

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The DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) was swept into the drivers seat in an overwhelming landslide as they captured a clear Majority of seats in the J-Parliment and can now exercise their will as they see fit while the LDP, and soon-to-be-former PM Taro Aso, retreat to the kids table to lick their many, many wounds.
Of course numerous theories are and will abound as to the reason/reasons for this fundamental realignment in J-Politics but I think it just comes down to the average Japanese citizen's desire for a choice and a change. You may be familiar with the dream of Change as it was something of a buzzword back in the USA recently when Americans picked a New Guy (name's Obama) for President.

Over on this side of the pond I get the distinct feeling that most folks had no great affection for any of their candidates but they did have a strong and very healthy distaste for the decades old political status quo.
Disappearing pensions, a basket full of scandals and various shenanigans while losing your job (and watching your neighbor lose his) will sometimes have that effect on a normally complacent person with a ballot in his fist.

Yesterday a mandate was presented to the DPJ by the Good People of Japan and the ball is very clearly in their court so let's see what they do with it or, if you're up to it, roll up our sleeves and pitch in.
There's gonna be a new Sheriff in town and his name is Hatoyama-san!

Let the Good Times Roll!
posted by Billy at 15:15 | Kyoto (Japan)

08/27/2009

Politics- The J-Way!

Although I am loathe to bring up such a dirty subject (and in danger of putting the mixi/myspace/facebook Generation asleep) I have to mention that the BIG ELECTION is coming up next week and J-Politics as we now know it may experience a veritable earthquake of change (or is it CHANGE) as the elemental plates of power are slowly but steadily shifting over here along with the patient dispositions of many a Japanese Citizen/Voter.

THEY'RE MAD AS HELL AND THEY'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Or.....you know...at least as mad as the average Joe gets around these parts.

Case in point-



As you may have observed this Communist Stump Wagon (Yes...they have them here) was met squarely on this lovely Sunday afternoon with what I've also experienced head-on when discussing politics in this part of the planet.

Polite apathy?
Mild disregard?
Vague disinterest?

But change is on the way whether we or they like it or not (how's 4 different PM's in 4 years sound?) so hold onto your hats then vote early and often.

In defense of my Kyoto constituency, however, I have to lay part of the blame for the comatose reaction to the campaigning of these particular Pols on their own logistical braincramp.

You're at least halfway down the block from every exit of one of the busiest Train Stations in central Kyoto (Sanjo/Kehan) facing away from the nearest sidewalk with your backs turned to any curious passerby while purposely blasting your ear-splitting exhortations across 6 lanes of hi-speed traffic moving in both directions with the nearest potential voter positioned on the opposite side of this deadly barrier as he/she strains to ignore you and you were expecting what now?

Whoever set this gig up must be working for the other team.

posted by Billy at 10:07 | Kyoto (Japan)

08/23/2009

It's STILL BEER GARDEN TIME!

By now we can all agree that it's hotter than Hades around these parts...still...and so what can we do, Fellow Fun-Seekers, but endure as best we can as we desperately plot our escape from the sweltering sauna that is this City around about lately.

And what better way to ditch this devilish heat wave than to kick back Riverside with a chill breeze and an even chillier brew?
So this week Our crack Research Team infiltrated the rooftop Beer Garden at the Hotel Fujita and sampled just about everything they had to offer in the penthouse.

Located on the NW corner of the Nijo Bridge and overlooking the Kamo River the Fujita is easy to find (5 minute walk North from Sanjo/Keihan St. and even shorter from City Hall) and on Monday night the Roof came equipped with the coolest breezes the Weather Gods have to offer!

Oh.....did I mention Beer, of the ice-cold variety?
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Ah yes, life was good but lest I paint too rosy a picture let me explain that this particular Beer Fest is a somewhat Good News/Bad News situation.

First, unfortunately and let's just get it out of the way, the Bad-
In short, the food was not exactly thrilling and sparked no desire to return, not terrible mind you, just...sorta.....forgettable.(which was actually hard to figure as I counted at least 5 chefs hammering away in the spacious kitchen area but win some/lose some)

But let's move on to the Good (which was very good)-
1. The View, while perhaps not World Class, was certainly lovely and definitely relaxing as we knocked 'em back and leisurely stretched out the old bones.

2. The Schedule was easy-going as was the Staff. We arrived around 6:30 and left just after 10 but no one asked us anything about leaving and, in fact, the Party just seemed to be getting revved up as we made our exit and the place was still packed with happy revelers when we hit the elevator.

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3. The Beer was absolute J-perfection. At Fujita you have a variety to choose from (Sapporo, Yebisu, Lights/Darks, etc) and a variety of sizes to accomodate anyone of any temperment or taste. And icy, frosty COLD!

4. Lastly but certainly not leastly, the Upper Deck Summer Wind.......Kids, mere words on the page cannot adequately capture how wonderfully comforting and perfectly pleasurable was the all-natural, heaven-sent, A/C blowing gently through the crowds of smiling faces and bent elbows that evening. I might say that it beat a kiss from a pretty girl but I've known some real pretty girls so I'll just say this- I'd go back anytime (especially in this season) to get that cool and cooling therapy again!

And I did mention beer too.....right?


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The Staff was friendly and helpful but visitors should probably know that the payment system at Fujita is a bit more complicated than your average one-price-gets-all Beer Garden adventure but don't let that slow you down if you're feeling hot, tense or in need of some refreshments of the Body/Mind variety.

Bottom Line?

Chill, relax, drink early and often (then late and well) and have just a little grub to keep your strength up as you bask in one of Kyoto's more pleasurable places to tie one on.

And call me before you go.

タグ:Beer gardens
posted by Billy at 16:01 | Kyoto (Japan)

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