President Obama made headlines during his visit to Japan, not for his diplomatic mission, but for his first order of business: dining at arguably the best sushi restaurant in the world. Greenpeace was angry about him consuming endangered bluefin tuna, but everyone else seemed to look upon his choice in Japanese dining experience favorably, many extremely jealous of the opportunity to consume expertly crafted sushi.

But aside from raising the hackles of environmental organizations and causing the world to crave raw fish,  President Obama also had some other unexpected influences on the country of Japan. From the invention of new hashtags to the accumulation of trash around Tokyo, let’s take a look back at the Obama Effect on Japan.

President Obama got things off to a casual start, greeting Prime Minister Abe by his first name. “Shinzo, how are you?” he smiled, giving the Japanese political leader a firm handshake when the two met at Michelin three-star restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. It might seem like a trivial first-encounter, but the Japanese media has widely reported President Obama’s choice of greeting in a country that’s used to formally bowing and calling each other by last name. The Japanese media also made note of the two political leaders’ choice of not wearing a neck tie, calling it a “casual production.” But criticism was relatively low compared to Obama’s handshake/bow combo upon meeting the Emperor of Japan back in 2009:

Many Japanese citizens thought it was strange that the president chose to both bow and shake hands, instead of choosing only one form of greeting. However, it seems President Obama did manage to master bowing during his most recent trip:

The president caused a bit of a traffic jam during his dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Twitter was filled with pictures of crowds in the Ginza District of Tokyo hoping to get a glimpse of him on Wednesday night.

A look back at President Obama's visit to Japan2Image: Twitter (e1upj0)

A look back at President Obama's visit to Japan4Image: Twitter (atachu333)

▼ “It was crazy around the store Obama was supposedly in.”

obama's visitImage: Twitter (atachu333)

▼ “Eh, what?! It’ll be another 30 minutes?! But I really want to see Obama. Ginza is crazy right now!”

A look back at President Obama's visit to Japan3Image: Twitter (nnnnnnnttmmm)

▼ “The traffic is awful because of Obama”

A look back at President Obama's visit to Japan6Image: Twitter (arunoko)

The presidential visit also prompted the closure of entire streets, causing Tokyoites to become mildly annoyed.

▼ “The Shuto Expressway is actually blocked off.”

Obama street closures japan2Image: Twitter (akiroom)

▼ Entire highways were completely empty…

Obama street closures japan23Image: Twitter (ymotongpoo)

▼ Causing other roadways to become congested.

Obama street closures japan24Image: Twitter (fujipei)

The following tweeted screenshot of a smartphone shows the extent of highway closures:

▼ “Because Obama came, I can’t get to the center of the city.”

Obama street closures japanImage: Twitter (tanita_aj)

Popular attractions around Tokyo were also closed, such as Meiji Shrine:

Meji Shrine closedImage: Twitter (e1x51c)

Postal delivery was even delayed because of President Obama’s visit, as noted in these official memos published by Japan Post:

Japan Post ObamaImage: Twitter (pirorinko8)

But the most devastating result of the president’s visit was his effect on the trash cans of Tokyo. Due to safety precautions, all vending machines and garbage cans were roped off with packing tape and as a result, the usually tidy streets were littered with empty cans and bottles…but of course this being Japan, they were all placed in a relatively neat pile.

▼ “Tokyo Station. Because of Obama’s trip to Japan, all garbage cans and vending machines are closed. While I was taking this picture, three different people came and left their empty cans.”

cansImage: Twitter (mooncrow99)

All of the temporary closures and delays have even sparked a new hashtag: #全部オバマのせいだ (“it’s all Obama’s fault”). But amongst all the inconvenience brought upon Tokyo by Barack Obama, at least Tokyo Tower looked nice for the occasion.

red white and blue tokyo towerImage: Twitter (yanko801)

Source: Naver Matome
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons