Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Take Back the Seat!"

Perhaps a pictogram of a blovated politico
should be added to JR East's priority seating sign 

Today is Election Day in Japan and many pundits here have predicted results that will put (insert adjective of your choice here) __________ conservative Liberal Democratic Party candidate Shinzo Abe at Japan's helm. Earlier this week Abe was spotted using the bullet train while out stumping the campaign trail. The candidate had East Japan Railway, the company that runs the train, hold a seat on an unreserved coach and not everybody was happy with the extra courtesy extended to the politician. 

One elderly passenger who boarded the train ahead of the candidate only to find the empty seat off limits was particularly maddened by the incident. When the rider voiced his dissatisfaction over the special treatment reserved for the politician, the candidate supposedly apologized for inconveniencing the man but remained basically unmoved in his position. 

During their journey together, the irate passenger persisted in complaining to Abe who was very much within earshot of the gentleman. In response, Abe was reported to have used his outside voice to clarify his apology, vehemently declaring, “I TOLD YOU I WAS SORRY!” The chance encounter with the citizenry obviously tuckered out the former and now once again would-be prime minister. After defending his seat, he promptly shut his eyes and fell into a deep (perhaps feigned)sleep, in a further indication of what kind of track the country may be on.

About the title: "Take Back the Seat!" is a take on the Liberal Democratic Party's current campaign slogan, "Take Back the Country." Abe's train incident has now given rise to a new "Take Back the Seat" Internet meme.


7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post- and the inspiration for a new song! Most of my songs are political, so this will fit in nicely! Also, much gratitude for sharing the Ainu Maori widget! We are so moved that everyone is being so supportive! From Jen from Ten Thousand Things, and AAEP! P.S. learned of this from Jean at TTT.

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    1. I'm glad to serve as your muse!

      The Ainu Maori Exchange project is really great. I'm not too sure how many will see the widget here. I get a lot of traffic from people who come here by mistake. Most think they have found the website for the Times supermarket in Temple Valley, Kaneohe, HI. They're all really looking for the Temple Valley Times Supermarket. When they get here they say to themselves, "What the heck is this? This isn't what I'm looking for." Then they leave. Hopefully they'll see the widget before they go and be inspired to give.

      P.S. Hope to hear the song some day.

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  2. In the United States all these presidential candidates have an entourage of Secret Service agents, and, wherever they go, they have special treatment for security reasons (I assume). The fact tha the major patrty candidate took a bullet train among the "citizenry" tells me instead the saftey of the nation and the fact that these politicians do not receive any sprcial treatment.

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    1. Good point. I meant to make a comparison to the US as well but didn't here. Thanks for making it for me. The difference is remarkable.

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  3. Instead of Secret Service agents (Kempetai: Japanese name) for protection, Japan needs elder train police to ensure enforcement of privileged seating guidelines: "Sir, I need to see your ID to check your age." However, Abe may be close enough to AARP cut-off of 55 to qualify for priority seating.

    This is just a great post. Kyoto Journal, Namida Project, and others have shared the link on Facebook.

    BTW, do you have the URL to the Temple Valley Times supermarket?

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    1. Thanks and yes of course I have the URL, just see the FAQ page.

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