Today is Japan’s National Foundation Day which is celebrated every year and is a one day holiday..
Which I realized only when I went to university to polish off my presentation for my entrance exam, only to find the whole university closed!
Also as part of my entrance exam, I have to sit a English exam (in Japanese!) which I need to bring an English/Japanese dictionary and since i only have a handy dandy electronic dictionary which I’m not allowed to use, I had to shed some cash and help the Japanese economy.
So in doing so, I went to one of the bookshops downtown in search of a dictionary..
The first thing I noticed were hundreds of photos of President Barack Obama, and hundreds more in the form of CD and DVD books!
Each book is basically a compilation of President Obama’s speeches from his Democratic Nomination till his inauguration all translated word-by-word into Japanese all as a way to help improve Japanese people’s English (especially advanced learners). It is a far cry from George W. Bush’s butchering of the English language through his memorable Bushisms.
But President Obama isn’t the only political figure helping books fly off the shelves!
Japanese Prime Minister, Taro Aso, is renowned for two things: His love for Manga comics (whenever I mention that Aso has a typical Manga villian mouth and grin, my Japanese friends burst out laughing) and his many misreadings of Kanji.
After quite a few public blotchings of Kanji by PM Aso during speeches, many Japanese have turned to bookstores to buy books on how to read complex Kanjis to avoid such embaressing situations. Two women who were standing in front of me in line were buying such books, at the same time making me feel better than I’m not the only one struggling with reading Kanjis with each one at least two or three readings, some even reaching 12 and 13!
As for our politicians, the only time we see them reading is when the Book Fair is in town and all they do is collect books to fill their shelves (mostly religious books) to make them look ‘smart’ and ‘knowledgable’ whilst on the other hand, we have ministers whose job is to encourage people to read and learn about the world around them and write and express themselves, goes and attempts to block the internet…tsk tsk!
Once again please sign the petition against Internet censorship in Bahrain