Excitement is growing in a sleepy fishing town on the coast of the Japan Sea. The city of Obama, whose name means “little beach” in Japanese, is receiving unusual attention for its coincidental resemblance to the name of a certain US presidential candidate.
Obama merchandise, from T-shirts to manju to chopsticks with Obama's face printed on them, is sold at local shops and posters are put up at every corner of the city. On Super Tuesday, a volunteer group that supports Obama organized a “public viewing” event, attended by about 300 residents wearing their Obama T-shirts and headbands. Adding to the excitement, the mayor of Obama received a letter from the Senator expressing appreciation for their support.
A blogger [Ja] shares the city's excitement:
It is quite a surprise that a letter addressed to the city arrived from [Senator] Obama.
Even though it was for the support that came from a place that has no influence [on the election].
It shows Mr. Obama's greatness as a person.
I think it marks a huge difference [between him] and another person who is competing using her husband's achievements and name value.
On the other hand, many bloggers have expressed critical views and pointed out that the candidate's policy does not seem to matter to the Japanese Obama “campaign” and it lacks political sensitivity.
One of the users of a news BBS commented expressing their critical opinion:
However, I don't think all the people of Obama City support Mr. Obama, and not only that, spending tax money on sending merchandise, and the mayor himself wishing [Obama] good luck — I think there's something wrong about this.
American people's lives are at stake. It's a great responsibility.
Despite this, isn't it strange that one administrative body supports [Obama] just because the name sounds the same, not because they agree with Mr. Obama's message and principles?
Although not entirely critical, this blogger provides a cynical view:
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