Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Random Picture #166
The display above is from a sembei shop in Sugamo, aka, the old ladies Harajuku. That means that the former was the shopping mecca for the retired set just as the latter was that for the pink-mohawk and kilt-wearing crowd that was under 21. These rice crackers feature the likenesses of common cartoon characters in Japan. Two are easily recognizable, even by those who are not animation dorks (the pair in the middle, Hello Kitty and Pikachu). Flanking them are the lesser-known characters (in the West) of Anpanman and Doraemon.
It is my feeling that everything is what it is for a reason and that, if you take a moment and think, that you can learn something about people and culture. When I went to an exhibit of Incan art in Tokyo, I noticed the motifs on the artifacts and what they said about the ancient culture. The same can be seen in modern culture, but you have to stop and ponder. This is from Sugamo, and it tells you more than sembei makers with too much time on their hands indulge in copyright infringement. This is the place for grandmas to buy their red underpants, but they're selling rice crackers with designs for children on them at the premium price of 400 yen (about $4.00) a cracker. That means that they are marketing to grandmas so that they'll buy expensive stuff for the grandchildren as much as offering to gird her loins in scarlet for the right price.