What would the Japanese do without all those magazines telling them what to do and where to go? There are fashion magazines with detailed instructions on how to apply eye makeup, recreational magazines that suggest “date courses” in which you take your date on a pre-planned route that includes a trendy restaurant for dinner, a swanky hotel bar for coffee, then a drive up a certain mountain to enjoy the night view. And then there are the restaurant and store guides that people buy that are updated each month.
However, these magazines tend to not discriminate. Anything new is good. If a new restaurant opens, they tell us to go. If a new boutique has opened, we must see it. If there is a new product, we must try it. After all, we are consumers, so we should consume, consume, consume!
The problem is, we’re so busy consuming that we need magazines to tell us how to save time consuming by directing us to all the right places. On the other hand, how much time have we wasted in these same places? The food wasn’t so good after all, the service was slow, the clothes too expensive. Just once, I would like to see a magazine that would save us consumers time by telling us where not to go and what not to do.
New boutique! Don’t waste your time at this trendy new Ginza shop. Not only are the clothes overpriced, they’re ugly.
New megamall! This mall is so huge, it’s impossible to find what you’re looking for. Even the most determined shoppers are sure to get sidetracked by specialty stores, ensuring they arrive home with all the wrong things, including two dainty music boxes with birds on top singing “It’s a Small World.” Besides, why expose yourself to hordes of crying children, “food court” food and rental strollers that hundreds of snotty children have used before yours? For those who insist on going, we recommend roller skates.
Twenty-four-hour udon noodle shop! There is nothing special about this shop — the udon tastes pretty much like all the rest. The shop is open 24 hours, but don’t let them trick you into thinking that you should go there just because it’s open. We should warn you that we suspect that the noodles have been, well, recycled. Not that the noodles have already been sucked, but that they have, perhaps, floated around at the bottom of other people’s bowls before being reboiled for sterilization and served anew.
Jomon period coffee shop! We must be honest: Although this coffee shop has been in the neighborhood forever, this is not due to its popularity. We suspect that the landowner just hasn’t had the heart to raise the rent. As a matter of fact, this coffee shop has been passed down to unwilling family members for centuries. The musty smell and quaint velvet-upholstered furniture, which has absorbed decades of cigarette smoke, are a tribute to all the regular customers who passed away a long time ago — mostly from lung cancer.
New Petit Bistro a la Commode! This is a place you definitely should not take your date to. However, your dog would really like it. It’s got all kinds of trendy food that certainly wasn’t meant for human consumption, such as mayonnaise-corn-cheese-curry sandwiches, curried scrambled eggs with ketchup and giant slices of pizza toast (with curry). As you can see by the photo here of the Petit Bistro a la Commode, there’s not a soul in the restaurant. And that photo was taken on a busy day.
Our next issue has tips from our readers, including “Places I’ve Contracted Food Poisoning,” and the feature article “How to Deflect High-Pressure Salespeople.”