Inba Marsh (印旛沼) is a depressing, trash-choked elbow of abused water just to the west of the city of Narita. The local "wild bird forest" (野鳥の森）abuts a toxic waste disposal site.
It is also the best preserved wetlands south of the Tonegawa.
If Abe Shinzō were the least bit serious about his "a beautiful country" schtick, he would stop mucking about with the constitution and instead focus on making sure that the tax revenues so painfully extracted from the core cities were no longer wasted on unused roadways, tunnels, jetties...et al... and instead were consecrated to getting the underemployed clients of LDP politicians in the countryside to reve up their construction equipment and trucks in order to drag up, haul out and properly dispose of the trash that besmirches nearly every square kilometer of this country.
Yes, I was ticked off by the visible evidence of moral rot in the body politic on Sunday...and my mood was not in the best of shape to start off with after reading the Tokyo Shimbun's account of a suspiciously reactionary set of results from a recent government-sponsored poll on possible changes to the Family Law.
According to the report, poll results released by the Cabinet Office (内閣府）on Saturday (Warning! Warning!) found support eroding for a change in the Family Law that would allow spouses to retain their own birth names after marriage.
(Actually, such a change would extend to the entire population an exception to the current law which already exists for mixed nationality couples --but pointing out that inconsistency will get you uninvited from some rather remarkably well-catered events)
The survey found support for a revision--which it curiously defines as "Whether the law is changed or not, I do not care"--falling from 42.1% in 2001 to only 36.6% in 2006. It finds that opposition to the change--which again it curiously frames as "It is unnecessary to change the current law" (Somehow I am thinking that the question, "Even if it is 'unnecessary' would it be still be a neat thing to do?" was not the follow-up) rising from 29.8% to 35.0%
OK, let us say I have reason to be skeptical of anything that might cast a sharp light on the iniquities and traditionalist hogwash that stain the Family Law.
First of all, the damn thing's unreadable- formatted with seemingly no other purpose but to obscure information. Who can make sense of this kind of stuff?
Second, the manner of collecting the survey's results--door-to-door interviews--invites manipulation. Depending on what time of day the survey takers rang the doorbell or knocked on the door, they would have recorded damnably different results. Indeed, of the "5000 persons surveyed" it turns out that 2,234 did not answer the questions, either because they were not at home, had moved, were too ill or did not want to respond (1,116 "refused to participate").
Third, the survey was not carried out by Hōmushō personnel but a private contractor. This alone gives me the willies. Do you think the contractor might have had a clue beforehand as to what kind of results an Abe Cabinet Hōmushō might be looking to receive?
The day at Inba Marsh was not a total waste. In the space of a few hours, I saw:
ハシボソガラス Corvus corone Carrion Crow ヒヨドリ Hypsepetes amaurotis Brown-Eared Bulbul ムクドリ Sturmus cinerea Gray Starling ハクセキレイ Motacilla alba Pied Wagtail キジバト Streptopilia orientalis Eatern Turtle Dove カイツブリ Tachybaptus rufficollis Little Grebe ダイサギ Ardea alba Great Egret アオサギ Ardea cinerea Grey Heron コサギ Egretta garzetta Little Egret コガモ Anas crecca Common Teal オオバン Fulica atra Common Coot ウミウ Phalocrocorax capillatus Japanese Cormorant バン Gallinula chloropus Moorhen モズ Lanius bucephalus Bull-Headed Shrike マガモ Anas platyrhynchos Mallard ユリカモメ Larus ridibundus Black-Headed Gull カモメ Larus canus Common Gull カワラヒワ Carduelis sinica Oriental Greenfinch カワセミ Alcedo atthis Common Kingfisher アオジ Emberiza spodocephala Black-Faced Bunting オオジュリン Emberiza schoeniclus Reed Bunting ツグミ Turdus naumanni Dusky Thrush シロハラ Turdus palidus Pale Thrush アカハラ Turdus chrysolaus Red-Bellied Thrush シジュカラ Parus major Great Tit ジョウビタキ Phoenicurus auroreus Daurian Redstart
Seeing fewer species of birds and no trash would have made me a lot happier, though.