This poster is in the station, and I walk past it every day on the way to school. It always makes me smile, and not just because of the excessive use of exclamation marks. It’s the clipart-style lozenges that do it, starting with the yellow (and obviously not-so-serious) “be poisoned” and moving onto my favourite, “be broken”. I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s just so daft. Really, Japan has no drug problem to speak of. If two students are found with 3 grams of weed, it’s front-page news. A few kids take speed, but most of them seem to be mixed up with gangs and Yakuza-type activity, making an amphetamine the least of their worries. Despite the lack of a real problem, the government, in it’s role as The Nanny, likes to remind citizens that “Drugs Are Bad, mmmmkay?”, lest they feel like being naughty. The other reason I like this poster is that it reminds me of school, a period when the only thing we learnt about drugs was that they give you flashbacks. Nearly 20 years on, and knowing quite a lot of people that take/have taken/want to take drugs in all their various guises, I have never once come across anyone who has had a flashback.

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