The government-ordained assault on my home, the environment and common sense started yesterday.
Having promised to work 9-18 rather than 8-17 (as I tend to work until midnight, that extra hour of sleep in the morning is absolutely crucial), the workers of course showed up at around 8.15, parking their trucks and loudly shouting just outside my window, and then started the day with planting a mobile toilet just outside my door.
For the first couple of hours I wasn't able to get out at all, and when I finally did, it looked like this.
And at the end of the day it looked like this. A lost butterfly fluttered away and an even more lost crab walked around, but no more of those. All life must be extinguished.
Interestingly, I made a comment to the foreman about the sound of the cicadas, which are (or at least have been, until now) rather loud around here - but he couldn't hear them at all (and he is far from Zarah Leander's age). Apparently, the work is severely detrimental to the workers' hearing as well.
Note the flimsy four-storey structure perched right at the edge (or even slightly beyond the edge) of the cliff. If anything whatsoever is going to tumble down during an earthquake, it's that piece of hobby architecture, for which I seriously doubt any construction permit has been issued. That "building," however, is owned by a particularly obnoxious asshole who also owns part of the slope and is actively promoting the destruction. The reason I call him an asshole is that he keeps a dog on a leash on the tiny terrace on top of the tower, a dog that has been barking from dusk to dawn most every day for the past two years, echoing in the valley below. This is not really the dog's fault, of course; perhaps it's the heat or perhaps the leash is too tight, but it seems to be in pain. However, when I complain to the owner about this, he has the audacity to claim that the dog only barks when "people are visiting," conveniently ignoring all the times the dog barks when the owners are away, or have their TV turned on too loud or just don't care. In any case, he refuses to do anything about it. People like that shouldn't be allowed to keep a dog, but instead they have the power to bring about environmental destruction in the capacity of landowners.
I asked the representative from the prefecture about the (real) danger of his permit-less building falling down, as opposed to the (mostly imagined) risk of a mudslide, but was told that "construction permits are handled by a different department." Environmental protection, of course, is handled (or at least, the tax money set aside for that purpose is handled) by yet another section.
This morning, the work continued on the final section of the greenery.
Tomorrow, they will set up a fence around the site (and again, just outside my door so that I will barely able to squeeze in). To add insult to injury, this fence will be made, as is customary in Japan, of virgin timber from Malaysian and Indonesian rain forests.
Just this week, Prime minister elect Hatoyama promised to cut Japan's greenhouse emissions by 25%. Well, how the hell does he suppose he is going to accomplish that, with the prefectural bureaucracy still commissioning hundreds of environmental disasters like this?