My image of Japan before moving here was that of a polite and reserved culture that treasures quiet and subtlety. Boy was I wrong. Japan can be louder than a rock concert held at a jet engine testing facility, and I'm shocked with what people can get away with here. While the US strictly enforces various disturbing-the-peace laws, Japan either lacks such laws or fails to enforce them. Either way, Japan would vastly improve itself if only it could attenuate the volume.
Japan needs to ban noisy political vans.
I dread election season in Japan. Political party vans suited with massive horn speakers stroll through the neighborhood blasting cacophonic candidate promotion and rambling propaganda. Multiple vans drown each other out so that any single intended message becomes a eardrum-busting stew of noise. It's the most obnoxious form of promotion and only encourages the local residents to vote for the candidate NOT doing it. Tell me--how does annoying your voter base forward your political aspirations?
It's a clear case of preventable noise pollution and should be banned. Furthermore, levy stiff fines on offenders. I'm all for the freedom of speech, but it has to come with an opt-out option for those that don't want to listen. As there is no opt-out with a 5000-watt car PA system that puts any red scare era air raid siren to shame, save our ears and make the practice illegal.
Japan needs to fine and/or arrest noisy motorcycle gangs.
Particularly during the warm summer months, motorcycle gangs (暴走族) mounted on 5000-decibel muffler-less noise-makers stream along favorite roads throughout Japan. I'm baffled at how they get away with this. In the US, such Japanese-style bikes with mufflers purposely removed would be impounded and/or ticketed. Accordingly, the rider would be forced to get the bike's sound output fixed or face license and/or vehicle registration suspension. A motored vehicle creating an excessive level of noise is unlawful to drive in the USA--and rightfully so.
Not so in Japan. Again this is a prime example of preventable noise pollution that's allowed to continue. Local law enforcement is either intimidated by or cannot catch the biker gang offenders. But that's no excuse. Japan with all its technology shouldn't even have to pull them over. Catch them on camera and suspend their riding privileges. If that doesn't work, suspend their medical insurance, pension, etc. Make them what they are--criminal leeches that should be punished for the unnecessary burden they place on society. If anyone could pull it off, hi-tech socialist Japan could.
Sometimes I feel like I'm in a Charles Bronson movie--motorcycle gangs rule the streets and the cops are too afraid to care. So please, Japan, make it illegal and fine and/or arrest them. If not, I may just turn vigilante and start clothes-lining them off their bikes. One ample chain pulled taut across the road would do the trick, right?
I wouldn't live here if Japan weren't a good country. But a few disturbing-the-peace laws with requisite enforcement would get Japan on the road to being a great country. I know Japan can do it. I've seen first-hand the banning of noisy live concerts in public places (Osaka's Umeda district & Tokyo's Hibiya Park, for example). The more profound question is who's harder to shut up--the biker gangs or the politicians?
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