Last month I was in Japan for two weeks, finally being reunited with my family after a 6-week seperation. This is simply because Ryoko wanted to go home for 2 months, but I of course could only get 2 weeks of vacation off. So while I was very happy to see my family again, there wasn’t a lot to do once we got there, since Ryoko’s mother wasn’t feeling well and Ryoko had to fix all the meals, etc. while we were there.

Ryoko’s home is literally a 30-second walk to the shore of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake. She’s on the northwest shore in the small town of Imazu. Ryoko’s father is retired, having worked for Mitsubishi his entire career, and now he occupies his time by running a small kiosk at the ferry dock, which is also nearby. You can see it here. (Also, if you go a little bit north, you’ll see a small shop labeled 青空趣味の店 Aozora hobby shop that is Ryoko’s home. Her mother also runs a small seasonal shop that sells local crafts, and since the location is registered at their home address, it shows up there on the map.)

Anyway, my father-in-law heard from the director of the ferry that Japan’s Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, would be landing at their dock the next day! With the recent incident of the Minister of Agriculture committing suicide after being indicted for taking bribes, the LDP was in trouble with an election coming up. With the polls showing the LDP taking a serious hit in Shiga prefecture (which contains Lake Biwa), the Prime Minister himself was stumping through the prefecture, which he was doing by taking a ferry around Lake Biwa and stopping at several places to speak.

(more…)