Japan is quickly becoming known as a country of hard-asses. Dumb, hard-asses.
Earlier this month, the mayor of Osaka surveyed its city employees about their tattoo wearing habits and implied they should cover up or not be allowed the privilege of working for the Grand Poobah of the Royal Order of Water Buffaloes - or whatever the government of Osaka calls itself. READ NOW!
Now, in yet another fine example of knee-jerk reaction, Fukuoka mayor Takashima Soichiro (surname first) has told the city's public servants that they are banned from drinking alcohol outside of their home.
Why? What could possibly cause such draconian behavior from a mayor who has not admitted he dresses up in women's clothing and beats his wife? He hasn't admitted to this because no one is asking the questions.
Regardless, scandal seems to be the root of the evil that is drinking. Apparently on May 18, 2012, a port and harbor bureau official was arrested after he reportedly assaulted a taxi driver.
As well, the epidemic scandalous behavior of the Fukuoka civil servants continues as an official from the child care division was arrested. Oh god... please don't let it be because he was diddling kids!
No wait! He apparently assaulted a former colleague.
Though not officially confirmed by the Fukuoka mayor's office, we must read between the lines and assume that alcohol was involved.
These two were not so-civil workers.
So... two guys have a wee bit too much to drink, assault someone (which is admittedly very bad!) and then everyone who gets a government paycheck is now punished.
Good gods! No booze for one month outside your own home? Bars everywhere in Fukuoka will close up for good!
Oh well... with money saved from not drinking, Fukuoka civil servants can now spend their hard-earned yen on getting themselves tattooed! As a plus, by not being drunk, there should be less bleeding... from the tattoo needles and angry drunks.
Fukuoka Mayor Takashima says that when he told the department managers of his prohibition plans, he hoped the shock would make city employees be aware of the seriousness of the recent incidents and that they would better realize that they need to be responsible members of the community... that they represent the government.
Anyhow... should you be a city worker living in Fukuoka - including JET Programme members who work for the city's Board of Education... go ahead and have a drink. His edict is not legal.
You can't be fined, disciplined or imprisoned for drinking at a bar over the next month. It is possible, however, that you will be shunned as the nail that stands up and needs hammering down.
Regardless of such minor inconveniences as legality, the City of Fukuoka has said it will "strictly enforce" the no booze for a month order.
Do you know what would have been a better response to the alcohol ban? Do you recall that when you were 12 years old and you got caught smoking that one cigarette... so your dad bought a carton and made you smoke it all to make you sick?
Maybe that's what the City should do to the TWO employees who are already being punished by being arrested. Make them smoke a carton of cigarettes. No, I mean make them drink a barrel of booze. Something horrible... like peach schnapps. Or Calpis. Ugh.
Well... considering I now smoke a carton of unfiltered a day - thanks for the punishment dad! - maybe a kindler, gentler reaction would be in order.
Let's get some counseling for the two idiot fighter/drinkers. Lots of it. Ban them from drinking at office events. Provide data showing the rest of the employees that drinking can be bad for you - and give out those pamphlets at an office party.
Gods... anything but a ban on drinking outside your home for a month. It means you can't even get your girlfriend drunk at your place if she works for the city! It means you can't hoist a wobbly pop with your best buddy at his wedding, birthday or birth of his first-child (as long as it's a boy!).
On the other hand, men who are angry about not being able to go out drinking with their girlfriend, can stay home and drink with the wife.
I'm sure no violence will happen at home.
PS - that book up above - that's Japan's Holy Grail of drinking establishments. It's a very good book.