All dori lead to Dotombori

I moved recently. The rat race was just too much.

Every day this was, bloody exhausting.

I wanted a more relaxed pace so I decided to relocate to Osaka. It’s a good place to get away from it all.

Sometimes it’s too quiet.

Osaka, or to call it by it’s literal name ‘Big Slope’, is famous for it’s easy-going and charmingly direct citizens. I’ve had the following conversation at three times now.

ME: Do you think Osaka is different from other parts of Japan?

OSAKAN PERSON: Oh yes.

ME: How?

OSAKAN PERSON: Osakan people are the Latins of Japan.

I believe this is what they mean.

It’s this relaxed attitude to life that explains the election of Toru Hashimoto as Mayor last year. He was originally a lawyer who regularly appeared on the TV show Gyōretsu no Dekiru Hōritsu Sōdanjo (行列のできる法律相談所, The Legal Advisory Office that People Queue Up For). He gave up the exciting life of queueing in offices to become the Governor of Osaka Prefecture in 2008 and then the Mayor of Osaka city in late 2011.

He’s the one with the bigger smile.

He recently made the news for insisting that employees of the city of Osaka would not be allowed to have tattoos. This has involved forcing all public workers to fill out questionnaires about whether or not they have any tattoos, which have led to comparisons with Hitler, although he’s probably a bit more Latin. Hashimoto has dispelled these accusations with various public statements, such as ‘The most important thing in the Japanese political world is enabling dictatorship.’

He has ambitious plans for the future, many of which involve drawing power to Osaka from Tokyo, the ultimate aim being to re-energise the city and assert its independent identity. It’s hard to say what his next move will be, but it’ll probably be pretty Latin.

Tread carefully, Hanshin Tigers

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