Sunday, 4 August 2013

Day 227: Election day, Japan

Hawaiian dancing, Tokyo
Day 227 (21 Jul) Sunday. The day has arrived. This is why I took 10 days rec leave and self-funded my research again. And even when the result is inevitable and even though I could have followed the results tonight in the comfort of my own study on the computer...there really is nothing like being here, in the moment. 

My election paraphernalia
at 6.12am
As I have done the last couple of times I've been in Tokyo for elections, I plan to head down to the polling booth with Jinko (Yosh was going earlier...he had an engagement to go to but joked I could go and vote on his behalf if I wished...) and thereafter, we're going on another photography and shopping outing...and eating since it is my last full day. The plan is to meet up at Ikebukuro at dinner time with Yosh and whatever else unfolds. As long as we're home at 7.30 when the TV coverage commences. The polls close at 8.00pm (a recent variation to try and encourage more people to vote). 
A budding flower, on the
way to the polling booth

At 6.12am I'm assembling all the material I've collected 'on the road' over the last few days. Such 'realia' used to be marvellous additions to the classroom experience but in the age of the internet, very few students are interested in seeing such things. Still, it will go into another of my folders of things for people to wonder about when I pass on...

On the way to the polling booth (the local primary school, just like here) we explore, for photographic purposes of course, the neighbourhood community vege garden. As we marvel at the ripening tomatoes, one of the people tending the garden pops out from behind the tomato bush and offers us some to take. Unfortunately we don't have a bag to take them with us and with a big day ahead, we have to decline but not before he offers some to taste. As tasty as you'd find homegrown ones here...why don't we do this more often? 

The shopping centre,
an angle
At the booth, I wait for Jinko just outside. Each hour, on the hour, one of the attendants notes the number of males and females who have voted as well as the cumulative turnout for people eligible in that precinct. At 12 midday, it was just 12% much to the chagrin of the people I was chatting with as we waited. In the end, voter turnout on the day was a low 52%, not the lowest ever, but disappointing nonetheless. 

We headed into town where, among other things, we came across a Hawaiian dancing competition...yep, in Ikebukuro. Made for some fascinating pics because of the tiles on the stage and the angles. At 6.12pm, we'd settled in to a round of sushi and sake at one of the restaurants before heading back. 

Dinner, or part thereof,
at 6.12pm
I was the last one standing in the house, still watching, recording, tweeting the results as they came out. My prediction about Yamamoto exceeded even my expectations. Of the five seats in the Tokyo district, it was expected he might battle out the fifth seat up against the DPJ candidate Suzuki (who days earlier had a water bottle thrown at him on the campaign trail). In the end, Yamamoto won the fourth seat in his own right, quite an achievement. 

By 1.00am, it was bedtime, for tomorrow I had to pack to leave and speak to Rebecca on ABC again from Narita...

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