Monday, 7 June 2004

This week in Japan...

Has been quite quiet, to be honest with you all. The pension scandal has rumbled on. As you may remember I wrote sometime ago about how lots of dodgy old politicians had been caught not paying their pension premiums whilst at the same time telling everyone else that they should. Well, now some resolution has been passed about it. But here's the thing, I have been reading the paper trying to find out what this resolution says, mainly so I could write about it here, but, in all the column inches, I couldn't actually get to the bottom of what it was all about. Some of the dodgy old politicians didn't like it, I think from Minshuto the main opposition party, so they performed an 'ox walk' which is where they walk very slowly up to the voting place in an attempt to delay, and then stop, I guess, the vote.

It didn't work, of course. But it did mean that a lot of old politicians, who should know better, got to act in a very silly manner, ham it up in front of the camera and generally pretend to be 4 yr olds. And in this sense, I suppose, they are no different from any other politicians around the world.

But anyway I still don't know what the bill passed was all about, which is probably bad news for me as I have a sneaking suspicion it was something important...


Japanese are very proud of their seasons. There are four of them, you see. Now everyone not Japanese who is reading his will be very surprised at this because much unbeknownst to you, you don't have four seasons in your country, only Japan has four seasons and the Japanese are very proud of it. (They seem to forget that Vivaldi, the distinctly non Japanese Italian composer wrote a piece of music called the Four Season, but that is by the by of course). Anyway, the Japanese four seasons are called spring, summer, autumn and winter. It doesn't matter what seasons in your country are called and it doesn't matter how many of them there are. Japan is unique in that it has these four seasons, each of which has its own distinct weather patterns.

They're a weird lot, these Japanese.

Anyway, you can easily confuse them by asking what season it is now. They will say 'tsuyo', which translates into English as 'rainy season' and lasts from mid-June to early July. It's like trying to teach Baldrick to count:
'So that's spring, tsuyo, summer, autumn and winters - 1,2,3,4,5'
'Oh no, Japan has 4 seasons'
'And that one'
'And if I add tsuyo to these 4, what does that make?
'A very crowded calender, my lord'

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