Thursday, March 30, 2006


As pointed out repeatedly in previous posts, I am not anti-American per se. (Which, incidentally, doesn't necessarily make me pro-American either.) But I am against U.S. foreign policy, which is seriously screwed.

O.K. With the disclaimer out of the way, a few months ago, I mentioned on this blog that the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo hasn't paid rent for years. I heard how much rent was for the enormous plot of land and laughed my ass off - I know people who pay that much for their 2-bedroom apartment in this town. On top of not paying the measly sum for the prime real estate, they've roped off and forceably claimed a sizeable chunk of sidewalk framing the entire perimeter of the compound. Once, when I was walking by, a security guard started yelling at me, telling me to walk on the other side of the street if I wasn't going into the Embassy. They don't own the streets of Tokyo. And they've been dodging their subsidized rent.

Today's Japan Times reported another poor PR job pulled by the U.S. government. Apparently, the U.S. Embassy in London is refusing to pay the $10-a-day congestion charge. For those who haven't been to London since Ken Livingstone's congestion charge came into effect, people driving into Zone 1 must pay a 5-quid surcharge for every day that they enter the designated area. Everyone has to pay, no exceptions. You can be David Beckham or a kebab shop employee, but in the "eyes" of the traffic cameras placed on the periphery of The Zone, your registered license plate had better be on the "Paid" list.

(By the way, this is a stupid scheme. As if living costs in London weren't inflated enough. Maybe if the buses and trains actually offered a half-decent service, more people would be using public transportation. Still, the stats say that since its implementation, traffic in London has eased considerably. And unofficially, I'm sure someone up there is enjoying a hefty bonus.)

If the U.S. wants to shed its bully image, the antidote isn't complicated. Two words: Common Courtesy.


Blogger teahouse said...

Geez..what's wrong with the U.S. government?

Should I just send a check to London to cover the cost?

12:31 AM  
Blogger e! said...

I know, right?!?

Don't send them a check - you're already paying more than enough in taxes!!

I try to avoid reading anything about the U.S. government because it just gets me so riled up.

Having said that, I came across something else this morning and I'm fighting the urge to post another diatribe...

1:40 PM  

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