Show your Happy Face

From March of this year, Japan will be hosting the World Expo in Aichi. This is a premier public diplomacy event for Japan - a real chance to showcase the country to the world. For this event, a new airport has been built offshore south of Nagoya. The location, near Toyota Japan in northeastern Aichi prefecture, is also near where I used to live in Gifu.

There is only one small problem. The central park in Nagoya is actually full of hundreds if not thousands of homeless people. The linear park runs through the central part of the city, much like Sapporo. The homeless have built very elaborate homes out of cardboard and tarps. Most of these "homes" even have entranceways where the homeless men take off their shoes at night. Using old car batteries, they even have lights and televisions. I have never seen such interesting homeless engineering before.

However, thousands of people are due to arrive in the next few weeks, so today is reckening day. All the homeless in this park have been evacuated. The homes have been destroyed, packed up (in garbage bags), and hauled away. I don't know where the men are going to live. This is public relations at its best - just like New York city before the Republican Convention. Certianly a prime example of honne and tatemae, truth and image.

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