So, Famima!! (exclamation marks NOT mine) just opened a couple of blocks away from me, and I was leery. What, I wondered, do we need with a yuppie 7-11? I could tell, even just walking briskly by, that they had ENTIRE SHELF CASES devoted to nothing but water in pretty glass bottles, which seemed a tad ridiculous.
But! I am now a convert. I walked in, expecting overpriced Italian food to go, and instead discovered that it's a Japanese convenience store that rocks. No, wait, it doesn't just rock, it RAWKS. Imagine being able to purchase, in one location, the following: terrific spicy tuna hand rolls for $2, trendy German stationery, random American DVDs (I bought Birth, haven't watched it yet), condoms, enough varieties of bottled tea to take a bath in, Japanese dishwashing liquid, and Korean bulgogi bento boxes. If only they stocked issues of S-Cawaii, I would never have to shop anywhere else. Huzzah! I feel a little embarrassed that I'm the Famima!! target demographic, but what the hey—if the shoe fits etc.
Here's where the sheep come in. I went to the counter with my hand roll, bottle of green/white tea (ooh, two in one!), and the aforementioned DVD. As the guy was ringing me up, I asked if they were ever going to carry Japanese movies.
"Probably not," was his reply, "but we get enough Asian customers dropping by that we probably should."
"Forget them, I would watch Japanese movies!" was my impassioned response.
This was where the conversation turned a little ugly. The guy was clearly shocked that an American would voluntarily watch anything un-American, and he regarded me carefully, obviously trying to figure me out. I hate when people do that.
"It's not like there are any Japanese movies worth watching though, right?" he pointed out. "I mean, maybe Godzilla, right?"
Don't punch him don't punch him don't punch him.
"ARE YOU CRAZY?!" I said. "There are some INCREDIBLE Japanese films out there! Don't tell me you haven't seen any!"
He shrugged, noncommittal. Don't punch him don't punch him.
"Do you speak Japanese?" he asked.
"No—but you don't need to speak Japanese to enjoy Japanese films!" Idiot. I'll bet he has Dumb & Dumber sitting on his DVD rack at home.
"Then how do you get Japanese movies?"
I confess, I couldn't keep the sarcastic edge out of my voice. "I read subtitles."
He raised his eyebrows in reply, and I knew exactly what those eyebrows were saying.
"You don't watch movies with subtitles, do you?" I asked.
Mr. Dumb & Dumber shrugged. "Sometimes," he said. "Not really my thing."
Don't punch him don't punch him don't—
"You're missing out on a lot," I called over my shoulder. "Try checking it out sometime."
I'm still seething. I still really want to go back to Famima!!, but I may have to whap Mr. Dumb & Dumber with an issue of Non-No next time.
Of course, it didn't help my anger levels any that I watched The Corporation when I got home. Awesome movie, angering message. It makes me want to march through the streets with the righteously indignant masses, bar codes taped over our mouths as we rally against privatization and so forth. Did you know that water—including rain water!—was privatized in Bolivia, costing up to a quarter of each person's annual income? It took rioting in the streets, one death and many, many maimings before the government and the Bechtel Corp. finally backed down. I wish all the oil in the world vanished tomorrow, and that we had a much safer alternative already in place. I wish every television set could be smashed in the streets. I want to kick unethical marketers in the shins with very pointy shoes.
Maybe I'm not really cut out for the world o' media. Of course, I could try dismantling the system from the inside, rebuilding it into something more socially conscious. And then I'd shoot a Coca-Cola commercial, because we all need to pay our bills.