Anyway, back to my planned idea. One bug I forgot to mention was the cicada, famously (perhaps only to me) described by a certain Jeremy Clarkson as one of the world's most useless animals. According to Wikipedia, everyone's favourite non-source of information, it's also known as a jar fly and has what is basically a drum on its belly. It's actually more of a washboard stomach, I suppose, and as they flex this membrane, it makes an awful racket. Awful enough that they drive away birds. Yet they're around 2 inches in length.
So, the bird repelling cicada was supposed to be one of the loudest things I've heard in Japan but that's since been replaced by Mr. Snore. Of course, all of that pales in comparison to these political broadcast cars that come around during voting times.
No really, imagine that but about 7 or 8 of them. As you can probably guess by the speakers atop the (seemingly overloaded) car, people drive around in them asking you to vote for whoever they're working for- Ms. Ishii, in this case. The speech is usually rife with "Thank you"s and "We appreciate"s but overall, they trundle around town waving at you with white gloved hands and asking you to vote.
I was told Japan is famous for these but I had never heard of them until I came here. And they're LOUD. Piercing through the tranquility that is the quite suburban town of Sugito, these are about the only things that drown out the sound of the cicada. It's supposed to be an expression of free speech expressed to the max which is interesting because in pretty much every other aspect of Japanese life, keeping quiet and keeping to yourself is paramount to anything else. Talking on your phone on the train, for instance, is a huge cultural faux pas.
Being Japan, of course, there are rather extreme versions of these glorified speeches-on-wheels and that would be the blacked-out ultra-nationalist micro-van that was zooming around Tokyo while Richard took me on tour. He explained that they're basically people fed up with foreigners and that they were driving around telling everyone to go home, with much derogatory-nessness to their words.
They've even gone so far as to screech to a stop, jump out, and beat up the unfortunate foreigner closest to the van- sort of like those old Hong Kong gangster movies. Again, speech is free so why not speak freely?? Beating people up isn't allowed, but booting around Tokyo in a perilously unstable-looking black van is, so the abuse that right.
It's instances like these that really confound the new guy in Japan. I mean, there are so many unspoken rules and etiquette codes yet total violation of them is seemingly possible so long as you can justify with some law somewhere that you are allowed to. But the easy solution to it all is........ when in Rome..... although I don't intend on paying to sleep at the net cafe. That isn't really something practiced by the "Romans" here......... Speaking of which, he's just stopp- oh no, wait, he hasn't........... oh well haha.......