I’m sitting here with earplugs in my ears. Why? Because local (city and prefecture) elections are next week, which means that all the candidates are spending a week driving around in vans with loudspeakers, trying to encourage people to vote for them.

The most important aspect in achieving election here must be volume, judging by how loud they are. Even with my window closed and earplugs in place, I can still hear them. They aren’t talking about policy except in a very vague sense ("Junko Fuji will help children achieve their dreams"). Mostly, it’s just a matter of repeating their names over and over, followed by “yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.” ("Please be nice to me.")

I can’t believe that this kind of noise pollution would even be legal in most countries.