The hate buses

This morning I was awakened by blaring loudspeakers. The hate buses were out again. This is pretty typical on the weekend – getting woken up by loudspeakers spewing hate. I’m able to go back to sleep though. What’s amazing though is that I am on the 6th floor, face a side street, have my windows closed, yet the speakers on the buses on the main thoroughfare are so loud that I am able to hear them.

My urban Starbucks locationAs I was doing my homework at my lokale (my local Starbucks), the buses appeared on the street again, turning from on of the main streets to another mains treet. My local Starbucks is on the corner of Sakuradori and Otsudori and those are two of the main streets in Nagoya. Today was amazing, though. All the variety of hate buses that I have seen were able to congregate and make a hate parade. It reminds me of the time I was teargassed in Zurich when the anarchists appeared to unite for the day (isn’t that contradictory?) to protest the right wing candidate Blocher, which also resulted in a counter-demonstration from a more liberal party. I walked into a cloud of teargas as I was exiting the train station, much to my surprise.

Military flag of JapanI understand enough Japanese to know that the buses are not blaring words of acceptance and tolerance. There are lots of references in the rhetoric to foreigners and the buses fly the military flag of Japan. The hate buses bother me, and I can’t imagine that something similar being tolerated in the US and in Europe. Then again, in general I am part of the majority in the US and probably less sensitive there. And certainly in the US, we’ve had plenty of demonstrations expressing opinions of inequality and intolerance (read about California’s Proposition 8).

I always feel targeted when I am out walking and the hate buses roll by. I try to make eye contact with the people in the buses, I’m not sure why. I will not be intimidated by their volume. I pay taxes, I pay rent, I purchase products from their stores, I travel on their trains, and I don’t take a penny from their companies. I wonder what they will think as the Japanese population continues to decrease and their relevance is diminished? Probably that is OK – I think the whole idea is about isolation anyway.