People in Kansai, or western Japan, are known for their business prowess. Osaka was the center of business in Japan for centuries until Tokyo usurped that role in the 1960s. Kyoto too is full of creative entrepreneurs. The ancient city has spawned Nintendo, Kyocera, Wacoal, Rohm, Omron and many other companies and brands known worldwide.
In spite of a reputation for being a bit aloof--and the city itself being better known for temples and geisha--Kyotoites are very practical and down to earth when it comes to making a buck.
Cycling through downtown the other day, I passed a large metal sign advertising "half price condoms." The same sign has been in front of a mom-and-pop drug store for the 8 years that I have been riding in the neighborhood.
The sign is bolted to a metal stand that sits in front of a neighborhood drug store on a narrow downtown street. The red and blue combination is quite eye-catching, and I have always wanted to go in and ask the ancient man behind the counter, "What's the story behind the sign?" Or: "How are sales?"
If you did do your shopping here would it be ok to kiss and tell? Is this the kind of thing you would tell your wife/girlfriend/lover? "Honey, guess what, I got a great deal on condoms!" Or, just before you slip on a permanently half-price condom, "You'll never believe the deal I got on this condom."
On second thought, though, unless your better half is a merchant herself--or very drunk--it might spoil the mood.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007