01 April 2023

A Winning Look?

A politician fears that his campaign will suffer if he doesn't wear a bicycle helmet.

No, that's not an April Fool's joke.  A local assembly member who wants a seat in the assembly is visiting his constituents in his small district.  Its narrow streets and alleyways are more navigable on two wheels than four.

By now, you may have realized that the politician is not running for office in the United States.  In Japan, it's not unusual to solicit votes, at least in local elections, on a bicycle.  In fact, it's not unusual, from what I understand, to go anywhere by bicycle in the Land of the Rising Sun.  But, until recently, wearing helmets isn't the norm that it is in much of North America.

The headgear situation is about to change, however,  in the Pacific nation.  Today a new rule saying that cyclists should try to wear a helmet goes into effect. 

Note the way I described the new rule.  It's been said that Italians treat laws as suggestions, but Japanese people don't need laws because they feel such a sense of duty to authority.  So, while the rule doesn't prescribe penalties for not wearing helmets, it's expected that people--especially public figures--will comply.

So, the fellow campaigning for a campaign seat knows that if he shows up bareheaded on a bicycle, he will not be setting a good example.  On the other hand, if he wears a helmet and other candidates don't, his will arrive with his hair a mess while other candidates are well-coiffed.  

Oh, and when he put on his helmet, his kids laughed at him.  But, in such a duty-bound country with such strong family ties, I imagine they would vote for him anyway.

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