Tokyo continues a long tradition of positioning *male* door-bait outside shops, restaurants, and izakayas. This guard outside Omotesando’s gargantuan Ralph Lauren shop built to look like the White House reminds of the incredible capabilities of Japanese to import foreign looks and make it better than the original.
Much “American fashion” in Japan is far better than the original. Not unlike how a Jewish Ralph could become the world’s leading purveyor of WASP costume. Simulations that are more real than the referent reveal a mastery of symbols and performance.
I am left wondering whether inside that perfect surface is an overweight, acne-scarred senior citizen lady. Anything is possible.
I feel alternate disgust and pity for SMAP, Japan’s original boy band from the early 1990s. Each year, they release new CDs, sell stuff in ads, and hog a lot of TV time. But it’s increasingly clear that with each year, the band members are desperately trying to subtract a year from their appearances. It’s unsettling to see these 40 year olds posing as teenagers.
In their recent appearance on the New Years Eve Kouhaku show, they did not dance, sang very poorly, and basically showed no interest in performing. Does evil Johnny prevent them from just retiring? At least they are keeping the Photoshop jockeys in business.
A friend took me to the original location of Freshness Burger, a better chain with over a thousand locations now in Japan. I like the California beach shack vibe, despite its location in an upper middle class residential neighborhood.
Will living in Japan shorten my life? With chocolate potato chips, at least it’ll be a happy life.
Apparently this is a common snack food here. (Note: the subtitle says in English: “By breaking down old customs and producing consistently original items, we are pursuing a new level of chocolate enjoyment”).
Thanks okaasan sensei (お母さん先生)!