Monday, September 15, 2008

the swing state of... Fukui

Fun fact: Sarah Palin's rimless glasses are made by Masunaga Optical, a Japanese manufacturer based in Fukui Prefecture (part of Japan west of Tokyo). Since Palin came on the scene, overseas orders for the frames have soared, the Asahi Shimbun, a national newspaper here, reported today.

Fukui also happens to be home to the city of Obama -- yup, there is a city in Japan named Obama -- and so now loyalties are divided. The paper went so far as to call it a "face off between two popular U.S. politicians" for the support of Fukui residents, noting that government officials were "jumping on the Palin bandwagon" and displaying photos of the Alaska governor sporting the eyewear.

Back in March the paper had reported that there was "Obama fever" in the Fukui city, and that Barack had written a letter to Obama residents thanking them for their support. "A man striving to become one of the most powerful figures on the planet has returned some love to this coastal city," one article read. Citizens there had formed Obama support groups with "I Love Obama" headbands, and Obama Mayor Toshio Murakami had sent a "letter of encouragement" along with lacquered chopsticks and a dharma doll, a traditional good-luck charm.

Obama's thank-you note said "We share more than a common name; we share a common planet and common responsibilities." The letter was signed "Anata no yujin" (Your Friend) with a signature in blue ink, which, according to the article, "city officials believe is Obama's own handwriting."

No comments: