Despite heavy internet usage and a strong installed base of high-speed connectivity, young people just don't feel involved in politics.
"In Japan, 95% of people in their 20s surf the web, but only a third of them bother to vote. Some, though, do not seem keen on politicians using the web to try to win their support. 'I believe that internet resources are not very official,' says Kentaro Shimano, a student at Temple University in Tokyo. 'YouTube is more casual; you watch music videos or funny videos on it, but if the government or any politicians are on the web it doesn't feel right.' Haruka Konishi agrees. 'Japanese politics is something really serious,' she says. 'Young people shouldn't be involved, I guess because they're not serious enough or they don't have the education.' There cannot be many places in the world where students feel their views should not count. Perhaps it is really a reflection of the reality ? -- that they do not."






As long as the aforementioned hypothetical 18-year-old can't be asked by his/her country to serve, and die in its service, I guess I'm fine with that. As far as this much-older-than-18-year-old is concerned, though -- if you're old enough to be a soldier, a sailor, a member of the police force, or a firefighter, then you should be old enough to vote.


And the 60 year old is going to be an intelligent voter? They're not going to blindly vote for any asshole who promises "morality" and "the good old days"?

Face it, all ages of voters have the potential to be (and often are) stupid. Frankly, I've talked to some pretty damn thoughtful 12 year olds. I'm not saying that newborns should vote, but 18 sure as hell is an arbitrary line in the sand. Some people grow up before then, and some never do.



...between Japanese and American students. American students think they know everything and people care what they have to say. Japanese students know everything--including that nobody cares.




Um, I teach university here in Japan. I've also taught university in the states. So believe me when I say:

These kids are dumb as rocks. Really, really dumb.

The argument for these people being smart and this education system being good is predicated on test scores. As an educator and an assessor, I can't tell you how dumb that is. Basically (and I speak from experience in the K-12 education system here) no one does any learning in school until a few weeks before a big test, and then everyone crams FOR THE TEST. They don't actually learn anything; they just learn how to take the test. The most immediate place you can see this is by trying to talk to any Japanese college graduate in English. These people have all had about 10 years of English. They should be able to carry on a basic conversation, right? But you'll find that they can only spit out a few words, horribly mispronounced, and usually lacking any kind of syntactic structure. Why? Because they've never been expected to DO anything based on what they studied; they were only asked to pass tests. And they do. But they have zero real-world language--or any other kind of--proficiency, unless they've become involved in something in their careers.



テストの点数見れば、彼らが賢いとか教育システムがいいってのは分かる。教える人間としても、点数つける人間としても、ホントに何も言えない。基本的に、大きなテストの2,3週間前にならないと誰も何も勉強しなくて、で、テストのために詰め込むもんだから、実際は何も勉強してない;テストの通り方だけを覚えてしまう。一番分かりやすいのが、大学院の英語教室で話しかけたときだ。10年も勉強してるんだから、簡単な会話くらいできて当たり前だろ? でもひねり出せる単語はちょっとだし、発音がびっくりするくらい間違ってるし、文法なんてものは基本的に存在しない。なぜ? 多分、勉強してきたことを生かすってのを全く知らないから;テストさえ通れば何も問題ないんだから。で、彼らはテストを通る。でも彼らは現実世界の言語 --とかその他いろいろ--をちっとも持ってないんだ。仕事で必要になるまでは。

で、この人、いろいろ書いた後に、またひどいまとめをしてくれる:"PLEASE stop buying the Japan hype, people. If you came over here and lived for a few months, you'd be just like every other gaijin, saying "I always thought Japan was X, but it's actually Y!" It is nothing like what you imagine. It is a silly place."
これを皮切りに、「日本ひどい」シュプレヒコールが沸き起こる。Bingo! My daughter's experience exactly.というコメントでは、日本の教育崩壊っぷりが見事に描かれていて、「まるで幼稚園に戻ったみたい」とのこと。ええそうらしいですね。知らないけど。で、それに対するレスがこれまた残酷なまでに事実を突きつける:

面倒なので略。講義中に大音量で喋る奴とか、少人数クラスなのに寝るとか、テクノロジーはすごいけど、ダブルクリックも分からない奴がいるとか、ホントにすごい奴は学校をドロップアウトした奴ばかりだとか、なんかステレオタイプばかりなんだけど、経験に基づいてるんだろなと思う。"My wife was a teacher at that school for 15 years. She once went on an exchange to a US high school. She couldn't believe how "adult" they were, and she came back horribly depressed (she quit only a couple years after)."とあるように、ま、日本は、そーゆー土地柄なんですね。子供がかわいいっていうか甘やかしてしまうというか。


The article talks a little about the loud speaker vans candidates usually use to get their message out. I hate them! The volume they blast their cookie cutter pleads for endorsement are as deafening as they are annoying.



cookie cutter pleadsって何?英語力がまだまだ足りないけど。そう、これです。日本の選挙活動がなぜあんなにも原始的なのかということについてです。


  • 近所に30人やそこらの選挙ポスターが貼られる。ポスターにはサルみたいに歯を見せて笑ってるか真剣なフリしてる顔が載ってて、あと名前と「田中に投票しよう」って書いてある。
  • 選挙カーは「田中です。投票してください。田中です。田中です。投票して下さい。田中です。田中です。どうか私に投票して下さい」といいながら近所を徘徊する。アホらしくて涙が出てくる。
  • おれたちゃ家族だろ!キメようぜ!(訳注:folkって何? 'That's all folks! Try making your choice off of that!'
  • ウェブサイトがあれば、きっと知的なディベートの場になっただろうと思う。↑からは何も分からないからね。NHKのニュース見てたら、ちょっとは知的で筋の通った話が聞けるかもしれないけど、地方に行くと地方局しかなくて、地方局はほとんど何もやらない。家族がバラエティ見てたり、子供がアニメ見てたら結局何も分からないまま。
  • ひとつだけ現実の政党がある:自民党。もちろん、しょーもない政党もあるけど、結局自民党がいっつも政権を握ってる。(Don't get too cocky: In the US the Republicans and Democrats are pretty similar. Last Election both Pro-War and Pro-Big Business.) (訳注:apart from one glitchって何?)
  • ほとんどの日本人は政治を語らない。どの政党も似たようなもんだって知ってるから。政治家にはほっといてほしいと思ってる。(Again don't get cocky. The hours you spend sitting around shooting the breeze with your buddies might feel good, but ultimately makes no difference either.)
  • 日本にじわじわ迫ってる危機がある:年金制度は採算が取れなくなってきている。20年も前から分かっていたことなのに、誰も取り組んでこなかった。安倍首相のプランがそれを救うか?彼は子供に箸の使い方を教えようとしている。彼は他になにもやってない。どうやって首相に選ばれたかって?選ばれてないよ。自民党が推薦しただけ。彼の祖父が偉大な政治家で、ただ、今度は彼の番、ってだけだ。


Japan is a great place to live. We have Akihabara, Maid Cafe's, all the Manga your heart could desire, Sushi, and cute girls. However, there is also an blind political system with deep corruption. Take it for what it's worth.