With the general election being held on Sunday, I imagine many are looking forward to the silencing of the sengen-sha cars that cruise through town and around neighborhoods screaming the names of candidates over loud speakers. The nation’s florists, however, look forward to the end of the campaigns for other reasons.
For them, and the horticulturalists that supply them, the closing of the ballot boxes represents the chance of a pay day, no matter which candidates win.
These are the people who supply the impressive white orchids that are a the gift of choice to successful candidates. And they don’t come cheap. Most of the orchids are grown in Kyushu and, as of the middle of his week, the price of five-stemmed white orchids at market was about ¥13,000, 20-30% higher than the usual price. Once they hit the shops, however, they are going for anything up to and beyond ¥50,000.
You can read a bit more about orchids, elections and the economy in this post on Tokyo Green Space from 2009, which notes that a US political advisor has ordered 480 five-stemmed white orchids for each winner, adding up to around $250,000 – yes ,that dollars not yen!