The Noise Vans Return

There are some absolutely wonderful things about living Japan. I love the ease of public transportation here. As some one who has never really been all that interested in cars, being able to go almost anywhere, especially in a city like Tokyo, by relying on trains and buses is a dream. And, of course, this time of year the presence of cherry blossoms everyday are amazing.

But one thing I have not been able to adjust to, and something that I think is absolute madness, is the use of cars equipped with loudspeakers as political weapons.

These cars, with volume blaring, drive around neighborhoods with candidates on loudspeakers, sometimes in the car, oftentimes prerecorded, shouting there hellos and thanks in an attempt to earn votes.

Since the cars are constantly moving there is almost never anything of substance to these messages, just a blaring message that goes something like:

“Hello! I’m NAMENAME! Thank you very much! This is NAMENAME saying thank you very much. You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Its’s NAMENAME. Thank you very much!”

Again and again and again. And it seems that just as soon as one form of election is over, another election starts up again. And out come the cars with their loud trucks the thunder through apartments and spoil perfectly good lazy afternoon walks.

I hate these vehicles. They are a pox. This is one of those stupid traditions that this country needs to just get rid of. Whatever reason this country ever had for making obnoxious vans an accepted thing needs to be explained and then apologized for.

Pictured below is the vehicle that prompted this. I was out for a walk, trying to soothe my daughter into sleep as this car drove around the neighborhood blaring the politicians greetings and then playing a single chime version of a kid song melody. The entire sequence was less than a minute and on endless loop. That alone makes me hope this politician loses.

Sure, these vans are hardly the worst thing about Japan. But in a country that tries to bill itself as preserving heiwa (peace) and getting rid of meiwaku (annoyances), these vans are ludicrous.

And for some reason I’m reminded of when I was kicked out of a park for sitting in a deserted area and playing ukulele, which it turns out was agains the unposted rules due to noise.

Sigh. How long is this election going to last?

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