Monday, January 07, 2008
Sometimes I see something in Japan that I really can't understand or explain. For instance, when I worked in Shinjuku, there was a used record, video, and movie paraphernalia shop which had a 6 foot rubber and vinyl replica of the nightmarish hideous gooey saliva-dripping monster from Alien. As you stepped off the elevator, you came face to grotesque alien chest with it. At first, it had a sign on it which proudly proclaimed "not for sale", as if any sane person would want to put this thing in their small Japanese home. Later, it had a sign on it offering to let you have it for the grudgingly low price of around a half million yen ($4,600). As time went by, the price dropped to 300,000 yen ($2,760). I'm pretty sure the price at one point fell to something in the 100,000's ($900's). Eventually, it disappeared. While I guess it's possible that it was snapped up by someone who thought it'd be really cool to stick this in the corner of his bedroom so he could scare the hell out of himself when he woke up in the middle of the night and forgot he'd forked over a ton of money for it, I believe it's more likely that it was put out late one night with the rest of the dai gomi (big trash).
Since that time I haven't seen anything so unattractive that I seriously questioned the marketing skills, aesthetic sense, and sanity of someone... until now. If you look at the face at the top of this post, you can probably understand why I'm raising such questions again.
There is a shop named "Booby Trap" which apparently is ran by someone who paid good money to put that grotesque face on the body of a mannequin outside his or her shop. I have to wonder if the proprietor believes that seeing someone dressed like a mad thug who wants to grab your purse and knife you in the belly will attract the fashion-conscious young Japanese person into the store.
Generally, mannequins are meant to model a look that the consumer may want to emulate, but this one looks more like he's part of a campaign to prove foreigners are scary people. Of course, for all I know, the ultimate disposition of that hideous thing will be placement in some government office with a warning. One of these days, I'm guessing it'll eventually end up with a price tag that keeps dropping until the shop manages to unload it just like the Alien statue.
Given a choice, I'd much rather have the Alien alien in my apartment then the guy standing in front of Booby Trap.