Hi everyone! It’s Monday, the sun is out (in Southern California at least), we’re three days away from the next tour on our schedule – it’s a good week here at PacSet.

Oh, and we launched a new website. Welcome to PacSet 3.0, guys!

We’re also starting a new blog this week, and every Monday, I’ll be here to talk about the news in Japan. The column is called…

ARE YOU EXCITED?!?!? NO?!?! Okay… you do you, I guess.

Besides, Japanese news can’t be as chaotic as the news here in the states, right? I mean, we have Trump… what could possibly

Japan’s Democratic Party Disbands [Japan Times]

…crap.

So this is the kind of topic that requires more space than this silly column could ever, ever occupy, so here’s a cliff-notes version of what this means: Japan’s major opposition party, which was formed by a handful of parties last year (one of which actually had control of Parliament between 2009 and 2012), just folded and their members went to two different parties to give them a chance at dethroning the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (which is not at all liberal! Fun!). Many of their members have joined ascendant Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in her new party, the “Kibou no Tou” or “Party of Hope.” Which is a great name, especially considering the alternatives. I mean, nothing else has the right ring. “Party of Happiness” sounds like a rejected title for a Teen movie, this guy already has the name “Smile Party” locked down, and “Party of A Lukewarm Rejection of Most Progressive Policies But Hey We Aren’t The LDP Because They Smell” was far too verbose.

Like I said, there’s not enough space here to really break this into it’s pieces, but there is a good write up at the NY Times about Koike and why she matters here [New York Times]. A quick summary: The Party of Hope is a bit centrist, but it’s still arguing for revisions to Japan’s constitution, particularly Article 9, aka the “Japan won’t have an army again” rule that ended up in the post-WWII constitution – which is why a whole bunch of former Democratic Party people said “hell with this noise” and founded their own opposition party while others joined the Party of Hope. More about how that’s going here. Regardless, depending on how all of this goes, I apologize in advance if the October 23 edition of Headlinin’ is just a picture of flames. Actually, I’ll be in Beppu. It’ll be a nice picture of an onsen bath or something. <3

One last thing: the “Party of Hope” has a new collection of “zeroes” they are aiming for. This is not a list of people they dislike, or a list of robots armed with swords – rather, a list of things they want to eliminate. Among them: nuclear power, people tossing their pets away, and crowded trains. [Kibou no To] Yes – crowded trains. To ride in Tokyo without having to squeeze, wow! That makes me feel, hmm, how do I put this…

 

 

 

 

Yeah, like that.

That’s Headlinin’ for this week. For PacSet, I’m Evan Miller. Tip you baristas, guys. ^_^