First let me congratulate you all on our new president. Job well done, Americans (especially members of the electoral college!) Looks like now i don't have to burn my passport :)
On election day (the night of Super Tuesday was my Wednesday workday), I made a nice GO OBAMA sign for my desk and was super cheerful as i watched those electoral votes climb. The decisive moment happened while i was teaching a class, but it was a very nice thing to come back to find at my desk, the self-refreshing CNN page which now read in big letters "CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA"
I thought i was safe from getting choked up like my friends did, but today i watched the music video to the "YES WE CAN" and nearly lost it. Whatever your political bias, you've gotta admit, the man has a gift for words
The coverage in Japan was interesting. On TV news Wednesday morning, they were talking about the in-progress election. Japan was definitely aware of the race going on, and the significance of a black candidate, but not much more than that in terms of what the difference between Obama and Mccain presidencies would be. I've been doing a bit of explaining the last couple days. So on the news they were trying to educate a little bit about how the two candidates differ, so in a typical newsroom format, they had two anchors having a conversation with a US election specialist. the election pro brought this little poster with a chart on it comparing Obama and Mccain on issues like Iraq, Taxes, etc, but all the information was covered up by individual sheets of removable paper. As the special election guy got to each point, he would remove that piece of paper to show what the stance was, and there would be this big theatrical "NEW INFORMATION" sound, like in a video game of some sort:
Obama is.... Against the war in Iraq! *remove paper* DA DA DAAAA!!!!
Japanese news also has a tendency to feature dramatized stories of individual people to illustrate the broader issue, rather than just talk about the facts. This, i suppose, is intended to color the news emotionally, making it more fun to watch and perhaps control peoples' opinions. So for the election they had Japanese interviewers talking to Americans with hard lives about who they support and whatnot. It's funny to see the Americans talking with the voluum kind of muffled and a Japanese dub over it.
They also were talking about the issues of racism in this election and interviewed a bunch of rednecks saying they won't vote for Obama because he's not white, and saying all kinds of ridiculous shit. Again, this was very entertaining with Japanese dubs, subtitles, and commentaries. I really really love Japanese TV. It's probably worth writing about again later.
So after i found out about the sweeping victory, my office was of course oblivious and bustling along as usual. It was my lunch break, so i went to the local grocery store to buy some edibles. The owner of the grocery store, Mr. Ishii is quite an international chap. He has toured America several times, speaks excellent English (my standards for this have changed so much in these 3 months) and he was all about being my friend right away when I arrived. He was the first to congratulate me on the victory. I was impressed that he found out so quickly.
It turned out that this week is the store's 7th anniversery or something like that, so at the same time, they were having an ongoing complimentary tea ceremony. I was invited by adorable little old ladies in kimonos to sit down and was served delicious green tea and sweets. I chatted with Mr. Ishii about the great results until JP called me from skype to be excited together and tell me he was dissapointed that i wasnt sitting at my job watching a CNN live feed. Yes, i probably could've gotten away with it, but it felt a little out of place, and my intuition is really the ONLY guiding force i have when it comes to most Japanese Do's and Dont's. Sorry JP.
Today my vice principal and I were talking about the election. He wasn't really aware of any differences between the two parties, and when i asked him if Japanese people were more in favor of Obama or Mccain, he said they were pretty much supporting Obama, but that many people were concerned because of a switch in party leadership (this hasn't happened in Japan in probably too long. the ruling party has been and continues to maintain complete control, though things are a little unstable and exciting at the moment-----but that's another blog post)
Anyway, I assured him that this kind of switching is pretty normal in American politics, and the spent a good half an hour making him a little table to point out that Democrats and Republicans are quite different. Okay, so it was admittedly it's a little biased and oversimplified, but keep in mind that English is my Vice Principal's second Language, masterful though he is. I may post it later because it's kindve funny.
Well today was very interesting! and that is the topic i originally intended to write about, but here we are left with another post about the election. Unfortunately i have to go pack a duffel for my weekend trip to Osaka/Kyoto, but perhaps if you're lucky, and you think reeeeeally nice thoughts about me, you'll be blessed with a twofor tonight, dear reader :)