Friday, January 11, 2008
Truth In "Advertising"
There are some types of shops which are omnipresent in Japan and that you encounter with such frequency that they soon fail to be of particular interest. Among the sorts which you see very often are tea and sushi shops as well as a plethora of convenience stores, coffee shops, and noodle counter places. One type of shop which is common yet still tends to hold one's interest are the increasingly ubiquitous 100 yen shops. They consistently hold the interest for those seeking cheap goods made in almost any Asian country besides Japan.
One of the things you don't tend to see are shops selling kitschy American pop culture junk the likes of which would very likely not fit in the average Japanese person's home with ease and style. While biking around on New Year's Eve, my husband ran across the closed shop pictured above with a very curious collection of items including a Hostess snack cakes display, an American Krispy Kreme sign, and a large plastic soft serve cone.
This sort of junk is the very type of thing one tends to see at flea markets and perhaps even antique shops for bottom feeding collectors back home, but it's rather a rare sight in Japan. I find myself wondering how someone assembles this sort of inventory, considering much of it is promotional and didn't originate in Japan. I figure this person must go on some pretty interesting shopping excursions, comb eBay regularly, or have some good connections.
What I find more curious though, is the thinking of the folks who might want to possess such items. Sure, there's a certain campy appeal if you look at these items in a certain way, but it takes a special sort of person to want to put a Jolly Green Giant in their domicile. Of course, if anyone ever demands the still smiling head of Ronald McDonald on pain of death, you know exactly where to go for your needs without resorting to decapitation.