More fascinating fun-fun-filled facts and statistics about where I live.
Per capita there are more museums and art galleries in Shimane than any other prefecture bar one. I have been unable to find out what that prefecture is, so if anyone knows, please let me know.
Why do we Shimaneans have more museums and galleries?
The answer is simple, because we are an incredibly sophisticated and cultural people!
We have museums for sand!
And we have museums for water! Actually this is one of my favorite museums I've come across in Japan, it's only a few minutes from my house. I will post more on it later.
In Hamada we have a huge Childrens Art Museum.
And lets not forget concert halls and auditoriums like this one in Daito, a town of 5,000.
The cynical among you might suggest that the real reason we have so many museums is because Shimane is the biggest recipient (per capita) of central government public works funds, so as well as all the museums we have...
........bridges to nowhere..........
... well protected mountains,........
.. and well protected rivers and coastline!
One final statistic...... it is estimated that 90% of the public works in Shimane are subject to dango! Dango is the Japanese word for bid-rigging, whereby a small group of companies get together and decide among themselves which company gets which project, and then they set an extremeley overpriced bid.
Bid rigging is of course illegal, but like many laws in Japan it masks the fact that bid-rigging is the standard way of doing things in Japan. The construction companies make huge profits, some of which is channeled to the political parties that bring the pork, the bureaucrats that award the contracts get nice cushy post-retirement jobs in the companies they have awarded contracts to, known as amakudari, and the prefecture gets infrastructure it neither needs nor wants. The losers are of course the tax-payers who fund the process.
I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, so was really miffed when someone sent me this link to a New York Times article last week that covers the same subject even using Shimane as the example.