1185 Letters

The longest word in the English language:

Japan doesn’t need Wally World

An interview with Aeon CEO Motoya Okada:
Japan’s Answer to Wal-Mart?

Q: So what can you do to resolve this?
A: Well, we will continue to enhance our supply chain and reduce costs, [so savings] can be passed back to our customers. We can also enhance our private brand.

Well, they’ve certainly got the corporate rhetoric down…
I personally think that most of the products marketed under Aeon’s TopValu brand is noticeably inferior to competing brands. They can’t even make decent green tea or dishsoap, which, as you might imagine, are fairly important items for the average Japanese consumer.

Memories of Rain

Recently, the combination of late nights and wet roads evokes memories so immersive, I often find myself halfway home before realizing that it’s raining and I really should slow down. (The weather affects me more than I care to admit, I guess.) The memories I speak of all have one thing in common, that is, they are all memories of other late, rainy nights. This is my most recent one:
Around six years ago, I was driving a coworker to her house in Moriguchi (Osaka), after a company drink-up. She had passed out and my boss asked me to take her home.
It was raining pretty hard that night, and the tinted windows on my Citroen made for poor visibility out of the side and rear windows. As it was before strict DUI laws existed in Japan, I was driving kinda sloppy, mostly because the crappy driving conditions were annoying me. In fact, I was pondering so heavily on the fact that “god must hate me because it always rains on the weekend,” I almost failed to stop in time at a train crossing. By almost, I mean, you know the striped fiberglass bar that lowers when the train is coming? When I came to a complete stop, my windshield was bending it forward. The crossing bells were ringing and the train was sounding its horn, and the slow motion adrenalin rush kicked in as I threw the car in reverse and backed away from the tracks – just in time.
I think I just sat there for a while.
All I really remember is thinking, rain be damned, God Must Fucking Love Me.

Vinyl in Japan

A well-written introduction and shop guide pertaining mostly to the Tokyo area:
Record Shopping in Japan
In Osaka, I like browsing the Gorilla Records shop in the basement of the building next to Tower Records Shinsaibashi. The “Real Hip-Hop Americans from Lagos” on the street corners of Amemura, however, are sometimes more than one can bear.
Forever Records, between Namba Parks and DenDen Town (down the street from an improbably-located 7-11), used to have a good selection, but I haven’t been there in eons… Pawning my 1200s when I was a student was a necessary evil, but it still hurts to think about.
By far, the best deals on vinyl I have ever found are in second-hand stores. I once found a rare Beatles pressing worth several hundred dollars in a pile marked on sale for 100 yen.