Ok, strap in or switch off, and somebody fetch me my saddle for I am mounting my high horse for a minor rant. As I’m sure you are aware, Japan is a very crowded island and as the cliche goes, for the most part everything is extremely well organised. Everybody is tolerant and considerate of each other and there is a genuine sense of a society that more or less operates for the benefit of all of it’s people. No riots, barely any vandalism, with drinks, cigarette and food dispensers on every street corner, and yet no one breaks them or steals from them….. You know, stuff you just can’t imagine in the Uk. Why is this? Well to me it’s really simple. There just aren’t the very obvious visible extremities of wealth and poverty that you see in Britain and America. Much like Denmark, Norway and Sweden, (and this is of course a generalisation) , without the huge gaps between those who have very little and the immensely wealthy, there is a sense that most people have a stake in society and are therefore far more likely to feel that it is worth protecting and a worthwhile exercise to cooperate with each other. Generally speaking, those who disagree with me will argue that the Scandinavian countries have smaller populations which lend themselves better to the idea of shared community. Not so Japan. I believe there are in the region of 120 million people living on these islands. That’s twice the UK population. They can do it. We should give it a go. Quite simple really. In the 1970′s the difference in the ratio of pay between the highest wage earner and the lowest was 20-1. Since the 1990′s that gap has risen to 200-1. Share it out more evenly or expect more riots. There. I’ve said it. (“Baby I’m a Killer”). I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese. I really think so…..I should probably mention that the show in Tokyo last night was fantastic. As I write this, we’re sat in the air-conditioned comfort of the bullet train to Nagoya. There are mountains in the far distance.while close to the tracks are endless rice fields, lush vegetation, vast space age urban sprawls, or impossibly quaint little villages, baking in 29 degrees heat. And still I find myself thinking of the shopping centre in Plymouth. Ah well. I suppose I can’t have it all.
A Tuesday in Tokyo
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