Me: Hi again.

Japan: Hey.

Me: You’ve got some interesting smoking laws, you know.

Japan: Really? Interesting? You’re interested in smoking laws? Have you got a hobby?

Me: Yeah, it’s just that a few years ago smoking laws were a big thing where i’m from. It’s basically been outlawed.

Japan: England has banned cigarettes?

Me: No, no, they’ve just banned people from smoking them in certain places.

Japan: So have i.

Me: Yeah, but it’s all back to front and inside out. England banned smoking inside pretty much any building where people might potentially exist. You’ve done the opposite and banned smoking outside.

Japan: So you can’t smoke in a bar or restaurant in England?

Me: No, never.

Japan: Doesn’t that limit the ambience a little?

Me: Yes, it does limit the “ambience” or, to give it its proper name, “cancer”.

Japan: Hmm, it’s okay. I’ve got smoking areas in most of my cafes.

Me: Yeah, they look a little weird. Sometimes, it’s less a smoking area and more just a large sealed zone, boxed off from the rest of the cafe containing toxic amounts of carbon monoxide, carcinogenic air and people looking a little forlorn as they sit there drinking a coffee, sucking on a cigarette and struggling to breathe.

Japan: Poor bastards.

Me: And it’s only your cafes that have these smoking areas. Restaurants and bars don’t really have them.

Japan: Hell no, that would play havoc with the ambience.

Me: Or to give it its proper name…

Japan: Don’t be a smart arse twice in one page.

Me: Okay. But why ban smoking on the street where there’s oceans of air and wind and car fumes and smells and lots of other stuff floating about?

Japan: I’m busy. Really busy. My cities are packed. You can’t just have people wandering around with sticks of fire at the end of their arms when there are millions of bodies rushing and scrambling for train exits and bus stops. People could get burnt. Kids might get hurt.

Me: I don’t know. Seems a bit far-fetched. How many people have been hurt, injured or killed from such an event?

Japan: Erm…well…Fire!

Me: What?

Japan: They cause fire.

Me: They are fire.

Japan: No, i mean when people throw away their evil ambience-creating sticks of heat they cause a fire if the owner of the cigarette isn’t careful. I don’t have bins. I just chuck stuff in plastic bags and every morning throw the rubbish out on the street. It’s a tinder box.

Me: Well, a tinder bag.

Japan: Exactly. I’ve had plenty of fires in my history that killed people. I’ve got lots of buildings made out of wood. You can’t just have little fire sticks roaming around the streets under managed.

Me: Right. So, the fact that we can light up in a bar or cafe smoking area but not on the street is because you don’t like the idea of lots of people potentially burning each other and setting their streets alight, even though passive smoking actually harms health on a far greater scale every day?

Japan: Right.

Me: And these half-arsed, back to front, anti-smoking measures have got nothing to do with the fact that until 1985, your tobacco industry was government owned and is still involved in tobacco advertising today, whilst your Ministry of Finance controls 50 percent of Japan Tobacco which makes about $3 billion a year. That wouldn’t be a factor in making useless smoking laws, would it?

Japan: Erm, yeah….well….interesting…

Me: Really?

Japan: Yeah, i guess…so, do you want a smoke?

Me: Not much. But i do want to look at more of your quirky, chuckle inducing smoking etiquette posters.

Japan: Here you are

Me: Lovely. See you.


March 6, 2012. Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. pontificators replied:

    In Australia we have forced smoke companies to go to plain packaging, they can not advertise. Buying cigarettes is like buying porn in the 1950’s, they are kept out of view of the general public by law.Last week the Australian Govt announced it was ending ALL investments in cigarette companies. There is also a push on to tax smokers at increased rates because of the additional strain they put on the healthcare system.
    AND I enjoy your blog.

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