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Friday, November 17, 2006

Japan Communist Party

日本共産党

Listen to the sounds of the Japan Communist Party campaigning

Nakano-Sakaue MacDonalds, Tokyo.Had gone to bed last night without doing my breakfast prep ritual, so had to cycle bleary eyed and cold to the local McDonald's at 8 this morning.

Fought the devil that said 'go for the hotcakes' and went for the salad bagel option. It looks healthier. Went upstairs and sat at one of the big group tables. My unshavenness, bleariness, loud shirt and foreignness got prissy Mr. Immaculate Houndstooth Jacket sitting almost across from me slightly hissy.

Gobbed the McD and back outside had to get off my bike as soon as I'd got on when I remembered I had to stock up on cash. Pulled extra out of my Shinsei Bank account in the ATM inside Nakano-sakaue subway station to top up my Mitsubishi-Tokyo UFJ account.

Went to Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and tried to put the money in (the 'Deposit' button was lit up), but it rejected my card.

Called the bank's ATM center on the interphone.

'Excuse me but I was just trying to deposit some money, but the machine wouldn't accept my card.'

'What kind of card do you have? One originally from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi or from the UFJ Bank?'

'A Tokyo-Mitsubishi one.'

'I'm sorry, but you can't deposit money until 8.45'

'But the 'Deposit' button is lit up.'

'Well, if it were a UFJ Bank card you could deposit money immediately, but because it's a Tokyo-Mitsubishi one, you will have to wait until 8.45.'

'So I should get a new card?'

'Yes, you could get a new card.'

'And then I could deposit money before 8.45 with it, right?'

'Yes, but you would have to open a new account with the UFJ part of the bank.'

'But I thought they were all one bank now.'

'Yes, they are, sir, but not all the systems are in place yet to cope with the merger.'

'OK, I see. Thank you.' (instead of exclaiming 'But they merged 11 fucking months ago!!')

'Thank you, sir, and our sincere apologies for the inconvenience'.


Japan Communist Party campaigning in Nakano ward, Tokyo.I couldn't be bothered waiting another 12 minutes, so went back to my bike, passing, as I did, the local Japan Communist Party candidate who was campaigning at the Nakana-Sakaue intersection talking through a speaker propped on a bicylce, with three men handing out pamphlets. She seemed like a sweet lady, and when I took her photo she went a little hoarse for an instant.

The flyers they were handing out were all about education policy and how the government's present policies are, if anything, encouraging bullying. Apparently the government is to start assessing schools according to their educational results. The Japan Communist Party says this will effectively give each school a
ranking, to the detriment of the ones that most need help, and thus increase pressure on everyone to 'succeed'. This, they say, will increase the tension kids feel and make the bullying problem worse.

Japan Communist Party campaigning in Nakano ward, Tokyo.Bullying is big news now as just a few days ago a girl killed herself leaving a note saying she couldn't stand any longer
the treatment she was getting from her basketball teammates.

Anyway, enough of that - check out the sounds of the Japan Communist Party candidate at the link at the top.

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