September 25, 2016
Well, the Rio Olympics are over, which means that Tokyo's up to bat.
It was actually quite a big deal here when they announced that Tokyo had been selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
There were special editions of newspapers printed, being hocked out on the street corners ("Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" style) and it was all the news could talk about for weeks on end.
They had grand plans, oh yes they did. A new Olympic stadium!
24-hour bus and train schedules! Major renovation projects! And that was just the start.
First up, oddly enough, was the creation of a 24-hour bus line.
People were excited at first until they learned that it only went from one party area of downtown Tokyo to another party area of downtown Tokyo.
Not very utilitarian. It has since been shut down. Next up was the new stadium. This fantastic beast was designed by the best and brightest, full of modern technology and whiz-bang stuff.
The final plans were made public with much fanfare, showing mockups and drawings and this and that,
and it was all going swimmingly until it was pointed out by the public that the new stadium looked like a giant toilet.
Newspapers even ran Photoshopped images showing someone sitting atop the stadium taking an Olympic-sized crap.
The new stadium plan has since been shut down. They'll just renovate the old one (you know, the one from 1964).
Since the bus debacle and toiletgate, things have been pretty quiet regarding the 2020 Olympics here in Tokyo.
Oh, they had to redesign the logo as well, who knows why.
The biggest thing to come out of the future Olympics so far is the concern by a wide swath of the public that the entertainment for the opening ceremonies will feature some form of the JPOP
idol group AKB48, and will embarrass the nation in front of the world.
This is a very real concern because the producer of the love them/hate them "musical" group is now the man in charge of the entertainment for the event. A telling sign?
But after the recent closing ceremony at the Rio Games, a pleasant Olympic mood has seemed to settle on Japan.
The inclusion of Japan's Prime Minister Abe dressed as the popular video game character "Mario" from the Nintendo series of games,
along with tasteful appearances by the much beloved national treasure known as Doraemon as well as Pac-Man and other gentle pop-culture references seemed to strike the right tonewith the majority of Ninhonjin.
Only time will tell what the final product will look like, but one thing's for sure: it's going to be quite a ride!